“All my art is an impression of my reality. I love the sea,” says Swedish artist and architect Per G. Hanson, whose work is now being shown at Gallery RIVAA’s new exhibit Archipelago Love.
Hanson spends a lot of time in his kayak exploring the coast with no regard to time of day or weather. His paintings are vibrant and compelling, drawn from years of close observation of the natural world. In addition to the paintings, the gallery features a film of Hanson kayaking around the archipelago that is the source of his artistic imagination. Of the film he says, “When you see it, you understand what inspires my art.”
Hanson is an established artist who has had many shows in his native Sweden. Like Swedish sculptors Gustav and Ulla Kraitz, whose Blue Dragon sits just outside of Four Freedoms Park, Hanson was introduced to Roosevelt Island by Elisabeth Stapen. Stapen worked at the Swedish consulate for many years and was recently invited to chair the Art Committee for the American Scandinavian Society. Hanson loved the tranquility of the Island and thought that Gallery RIVAA, with its interesting architecture, would be a wonderful place for a show.
Hanson’s paintings are shown to their best advantage in the RIVAA gallery because of the gallery’s lighting and wall configurations. His paintings are nearly abstract, featuring more light and color than form. However, form is evident in some of the art, such as the bridge in Bridge of Peace.
Other works include forms that suggest granite rocks and pathways between them, as well as the fishermen’s shacks that line parts of the shore. Hanson’s use of color is remarkable. He uses blue and orange in striking ways in paintings such as Nature Seeking and Seaweed Playing.
When asked about his art-making process, Hanson says that he never works on one painting until it is finished. Instead, he starts a painting and puts it away for a few months before taking it out again. When asked what made him decide to become an artist, he explains, “I have it in my blood. I was born to be an artist.”
The Archipelago Love exhibit runs until October 29. Gallery RIVAA, located at 527 Main Street, is open Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m.