"What interests me are the ways in which, drawing on its own historical traditions, painting can idealise and sanctify subjects that are not normally considered ‘ideal´ or ‘holy´."
Riikka Lenkkeri combines the use of thick layering of colour - drawn from European, especially Italian, art tradition - with contemporary subjects in a unique way. Her personal portraits are interpretations of ordinary Finnish people and their human relationships. Lenkkeri uses her family and friends as her models, painting them to the level of precision of a formal portrait while also striving for as whole a likeness as possible, to capture the essence and body language of her subjects. Her subjects are depicted in everyday settings and situations, in their homes and in natural surroundings, and are often portrayed as being in the physical company of friends and family, yet emotionally alone and absorbed in self-analysis, in their own mental worlds. Her works are quietly charged and her style simple, stripped of all non-essentials. It is as if time has stopped in the moment of capture, in the fixed gaze of the subject. At the same time, Lenkkeri creates something greater than the individual; archetypes of humanity, metaphors of existential questions that are independent of time and place - some of the very questions that Western painting has, throughout history, sought to explore.
Website text: Virpi Nikkari
and Veikko Halmetoja