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Control and Freedom - Introduction

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Control and Freedom

I am a 54-year-old artist from Tuusula. I am also Ihminen tavattavissa (human encounter) therapist and a civil servant. Drawing has been important to me since I was little, but it was only after I went through a therapy training that I found my own inner voice and will, and the courage to make art and come out with it.

It is my own history that brings me to Sulkava Church. I lived in Sulkava for four years from 1984-1988 and enrolled here as a high school graduate. Our school class has been very close and kept in touch all these years. Before Sulkava, I lived in Puumala for two years and before that we spent all weekends and school holidays for ten years at a summer cottage on Viljakansaari. I feel like I'm from this area even though I wasn't born here.


The theme of the exhibition is control and freedom. For many years I have felt the need to learn to indulge myself, to let go of control. Finally this year I have started to take concrete steps towards it. I started improvisational theatre early this year and began to paint horses freely from my own head without any model. It takes a lot of courage to bring them out for the first time now.

On the right side of the church hall is control, on the left is freedom. The control horses are accurate and use a template. The bar is high. I want to catch the horse's eye, see its soul and feel a kind of contact with the horse I am painting. So I say I fall in love with the horse in the work and that's how I know the work is successful and ready to go. There is pressure and stress involved in doing this. You have to be in the right frame of mind and you have to be able to concentrate.


The opposite of this is free horses. There's no pressure to perform, you can always put the paint on and start again. Sometimes that's how the board is set up. I'll dab on the paint, or sometimes I'll even just paint the base colour and suddenly I start to see the horse's features, reinforce them as necessary and the painting is complete. The hardest part has been accepting the "incompleteness" and seeing the painting as finished, when I compare them to those precise paintings where the bar is set really high. I've had to lower the bar on the free horses and I find that it's okay that way too.


Do you recognise control and freedom in your own life? Personally, I easily control both myself and others, for example: how to behave, what to say or how to dress, what is appropriate behaviour for a spouse or what for a child. And so on. Control often causes unpleasant feelings in relationships or makes you feel bad about yourself. Letting go is difficult, but only in freedom does life happen.

Of course, both are needed for a balanced life. Control helps us in our daily routines, but it needs to be balanced by freedom and self-indulgence. I continue to make precise horses for commission, and am delighted to have found free horses of my own mind, which I am now starting to make alongside more of!


Welcome to my show!

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