Mari Rantanen
Perfect Sunset
3 Aug – 9 Sep 2007
Mari Rantanen’s  painting series "Perfect Sunset" is presented in Turku Art Museum’s Studio. The glorious colours in these paintings remind us of unique sunsets we have all witnessed. These paintings epitomise Rantanen’s career as a painter. These works embody everything that she considers to be essential – both as things in themselves and as sensations to be forwarded.

Mari Rantanen (b. 1956)  has both lived and travelled extensively outside Finland. New York City was her base for ten years from late 1980’s onwards and it was followed by a decade in Stockholm. There she worked both as a painter and as a Head of Department of Painting in the Royal College of Art. When on leave, she has been keen to visit countries that are famous for their opulently colourful art and culture. These countries have included Mexico, Thailand and India. Rantanen is fascinated by the experience of light and space in different environments and by the energies these places bring to the fore. She paints her own experiences and sensations and is very aware of herself as a woman. This is manifest in her interest on the handiwork made by women artisans. In her own art she ardently strives to create a place for the viewer’s emotions.
                             
During the day it is easy to forget the existence of sunsets. But when it happens, the magnificent play of colours almost freezes us. This unworldly phenomenon makes everything else look futile. It reminds us of twilight between presence and absence and its recurrent nature offers us hope for the future.

The first sunset materialised into Rantanen’s canvas in the early 1970’s. This all time favourite motif in art gave her an opportunity to move from representational figuration towards more abstract way of painting. The motif re-surfaced in 2004 when Rantanen visited Taj Mahal and experienced a sunset in the surroundings of the mausoleum. Initially she tried to resist this almost cliché-like impression, but to no avail. She thought that the lace-like edifice was almost floating in the air – suddenly Taj Mahal disappeared and then it re-appeared. It was at the same time present and absent.

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