Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Finlandia University Gallery to host exhibit by Maija Miettinen; opening reception is June 2

Art by Maija Miettinen. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- "Maija Miettinen: Rhythm of the Whole" will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from June 2 to August 3, 2016. An opening reception at the gallery will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, with an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Maija Miettinen’s large-scale abstract paintings, composed of repeating bands of brightly colored optical patterns, present a continuous negotiation and investigation of the binaries of subject versus object, open versus closed and nature versus culture.

Rejecting illusionistic space, Miettinen’s paintings convey the here and now, infinitely renewing that moment of first encounter. While her pattern making references Finnish cultural paradigms, including folk patterns and craft, Miettinen’s paintings find their humanity in the poetry of her mark making.

"Where the configurations start falling apart and the imperfections of the hand become visible, I see vulnerability but also delicate tension and confusion," says Miettinen.

Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Miettinen has lived in the United Sates for the past twelve years. Her artwork explores the theories of cultural marginalization, liminality, and power in the global world and examines how her work emerges from her immigrant reality -- yet is not a direct reflection of her biography per se.

"In my personal life I see myself living in a perhaps unusual place where my intimate, internal cultural encounter of the everyday American life and who I experience myself to be is continuously conflicted with, and in opposition to the external assumption to who I am perceived to be," notes Miettinen in her artist statement. "I find myself often asking from this position, how can I convey what I experience, what kind of forms can I find to communicate these incompatible experiences, but perhaps above all, how can I find justification for painting in this world of seemingly increasing and confusing polarization and conflict?"

Miettinen currently lives and works in Columbus, Ohio, where she carries on her studio practice and teaches art at the Department of Art at The Ohio State University. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree, with a graduate minor in Comparative Cultural Studies, from The Ohio State University in 2015.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 906-487-7500.

(Inset photo: Maija Miettinen. Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

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