In Kristin Austreid's Tette rom, the vast expanse of the polyptic alone is something to behold. Its bold, complementary hues and billowing shapes echo and repeat throughout the entire composition. Images of ghostly faces, knees, plastic, feet, sheets, pig's feet, and hair swirl around each other in a grotesque dance, but if we pick out the individual parts, we glimpse both extremes of sublime brightness and uncomfortable depth. Even more interestingly, sometimes the extremes are difficult to differentiate as one or the other and can be both. The figures appear to be, at the very least sleeping, but is that all? The uneasiness these canvases cause comes down to the feeling that everything is still moving and rearranging, lifeless and alive simultaneously. The symmetry of the six canvases conveys an underlying sense of order, addressing the relationship between structure and chaos, along with Austreid's careful attention to detail.
I was immediately drawn to the color choices in Tette rom, but in the rest of her work as well. Austreid touches on every hue in the skin of her subjects--the blues and pinks and everything in between. The aesthetic effect of using these skin tones and other colors so exuberantly is a sense of excitement, uneasiness and even awe. Her figures seem to be taking us on some sort of beautiful, perilous journey, if only in our own minds, through scenarios we don't--and can't--really understand.
Austreid also focuses on mirroring images, both in Tette rom and in works such as those in the Closer Apart series (below). Sharp contrasts in lighting draw our attention to both extremes: we see what we see in the light, but what do we see in the dark? To what depths do we go? What aspects of ourselves can be hidden in our darker sides?
Kristin earned an MFA this year from Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Norway. Much more information and work can be found at her website, kristinaustreid.com.