Aase Birkhaug is an extremely talented artist who reinterprets, analyses and gives new life to the exquisite and time-honoured artistic genre of floral still-life. This expressive Norwegian artist has reconnected to the Romantic style, communicating a finesse lost to digital imaging. Birkhaug gracefully combines the magnificence of tradition and the impetus of modernity, infusing her blooming compositions with eloquent insertions of modern taste.
Returning to classical inanimate depictions, Birkhaug not only shows that a reactionist approach can enhance an established artistic canon and invigorate our understanding of human psyche, but also electrifies a fascinating subject that nowadays has been often put aside and misunderstood. Thus, due to a profound understanding of the mind, Birkhaug has the ability to give new life to an apparently unchangeable genre, postulating that humans are eager to be surrounded by absolute and pure beauty, and thus pervading the spectator’s eye with whirlwinds of vibrant and unspoiled blossoms, preeminently roses.
Throughout the History of Art, the rose has always had an allegorical tradition of an almost unparalleled power. Symbol of charm, passion, eternal promise, but also of time passing, vulnerability and even death. The rose represents all the divergent and mysterious shades of human mortality and is one of the most sensual creations of Mother Nature, a flower with a thousand facets and nuances. An absolute oxymoron lives underneath its blossoms: delicacy and mystery, softness and provocative references are disguised among its gentle petals. Velvety buds and dangerous spines intertwine in a maze of double entendres, stimulating our perception in an endless interpretative journey. Birkhaug’s petals create a vortex that captures the observer who is bewitched and fascinated by the proportionate recurrence of the concentric fragrant layers which compose each rose.
She can be hailed as the modern Bosschaert, master of the Dutch Golden Age, due to her immense talent in expressively painting gentle flowers and simultaneously conveying transcendent emotion. While Bosschaert predominantly arranged his blossoms symmetrically, developing a hyper-realistic and nearly scientific approach to painting petals, Birkhaug focuses on the symbolic power of nature by conveying its sentimental perspective and creating an eruption of compelling pigments. Thus, old fashioned bouquet compositions are transformed into vivid and nearly abstract atmospheres saturated with dancing forms and musical vibrations. Birkhaug’s works are deeply exuberant in their rhapsodic naturalness - a general sense of transcendence prevails in some smooth reproductions of flowers, while in some others a passionate corporeality and a unequivocal link between the artist’s inner self and the all-embracing primordial nature, can be sensed.