Works by Gordon Skalleberg
January 7-February 26, 2022
Abstract 20-20, oil on plywood, 16"x16", 2020
I am intrigued by horizons, both at oceans and in the desert. For a person of average height, it is only about three miles to the horizon. The horizon becomes something infinite, and, of course, if you were to chase it you would just be circling the Earth endlessly.
To me, it seems like the horizon can hide the meaning of our existence on Earth, it could make us wonder if there is life beyond?
When traveling through the desert in the Southwest I never tire of looking and searching the distance; observing the sky, the haziness of distant mountains or hills, the ever changing light. There is never a moment that is identical to the previous moment. You are really watching time divided in minuscule NOWs. It is like watching moving water or a fire, you never get tired of it.
So it seems that the horizon is what divides the mortal from the divine. Maybe Leonardo da Vinci had thoughts like these when he painted the Last Supper…”
Swedish artist Gordon Skalleberg initially concentrated on painting faces and people. He is an expert at capturing gesture, emotion and fleeting thoughts. When asked about his subject matter, he stated, “I guess I am trying to see beyond the surface… Subconsciously we can recognize joy and sadness, maybe even a subtle lie – but are we really aware of what we are seeing?” Many of the images are of people he does not know, so when a viewer reflexively formulates his or her own personal narrative about what they are seeing and tells him the story, he is fascinated.
Born in Fredrikstad, Norway, Skalleberg grew up in Stockholm and moved to Arild, Sweden in 1994. Now a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, he transitioned into a full-time artistic life after many years in the family’s successful business, Skaltek. When young, he was interested in photography, as well as drawing and sketching, yet a career in fine arts was not imagined. He joined the family firm after finishing technical high school and rapidly learned all aspects of the business. In his thirties he became president.
Apart from all the normal duties in top management, Skalleberg taught himself graphic design and took on the responsibility for all visual promotion. He evolved from manual graphic design to fluency in digital software. This creative work energized him. It planted a seed, and the seed began to grow. He was no longer content to be a “deferred artist.”
Reflecting on his future and his pressing desire to cultivate his expanding creativity, he took a break from the firm and enrolled in a one-week painting course at the prominent Swedish art school Gerlesborgsskolan. There he experienced a life-changing shift that set the trajectory for his professional artistic endeavors. Aside from this course, Skalleberg is self-taught. To educate himself, he immersed himself in many museums, galleries and books about art history and various artists’ life experiences. He observed and soaked up information about techniques, styles and materials. He spent hours in the studio. He set goals as an emerging artist adapting to a major career realignment.