"Stone In The Shoe" is the second solo show in Spain by Morten Slettemeås (1975 in Gvarv, Telemark, Norway). It's well worth mentioning his solo show at our gallery in Mexico last year, which was received by the public with great expectations and success. It's also well worth mentioning his solo show in Oslo at the GAD gallery, this very year. Since his incorporation to the gallery, his work has been shown at fairs in Madrid, Bologna, Rome, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Since his graduation from the Oslo Academy of Fine Arts in 2003, he has participated actively in several individual and group shows, mostly in Norway and Germany. He has received several grants for young artists, from the Norwegian government. In 2006 he won the Diesel Prize. His work can be found in public collections like; Stavanger International Collection, Malmø Konstmuseum in Sweden, StatoilHydro and Norwegian Cultural Council, as well as in private collections in Norway, Spain, Mexico, Germany and Portugal.
The paintings of Morten Slettemeås are expressive and organic, with intense and colorful brushstrokes. His works, full of light, takes very seriously the "regrettable" history of painting.
In his paintings you can find anonymous beings placed partially in heroic postures which reminds us of the historical post-modernist paintings, but also referring to the Nordic expressionist postwar period, like the paintings from the COBRA group and from Per Kirkeby.
You could say that his main characteristic is the total irreverent and audacious combinations of diverse sources; the most dignified part of art history with its old heroic paintings, together with images from everyday press, publicity ads and old comic heroes. All in all an interesting combination, between Low and High culture.
One of these points of reference is XVII century painting, where the Spanish "Conquistadores" are described in high and dignified way. In his reinterpretation, Slettemeås preserves some of the baroque structure of the paintings, the diagonal and the pictorial space, but now the figure is no longer superior to the spectator, it is more like a comical or ridiculous representation. A certain desecration of what is sacred, that opens our eyes to an interpretation which is exquisite and depraved at the same time.
On one hand, the action is half destructive (The starting point is always very close to an existing image, ready to be "destroyed" and, on the other hand the result is always a new painting, partially reconstructed, recycled, centrifuged and presented like an orgasmic explosion of colors, very seductive to the eye.
Slettemeås reveals his anti-authoritarian attitude towards painting and society. He cuts and pastes his motifs in some kind of conspiracy, which forces us to follow the evanescent narrative which takes place in his images. He steels like a magpie and plays around art history like it were a great treasure.