Maya Rygaard
Born in Vaasa, Finland
Living and working in Hamburgsund, Oviken, Sweden and Berlin, Germany

Education
Courses at Art School 2001-2007
Studies for Art University, Art School 1999-2003
Extensive studies under the guidance of Art Professors as mentors 2001-2007
Studies in theatre and dramaturgy, Sweden 2001-2002

Contributions
Oil Painting ”Borders” – ”Fronteras” included in the permanent international collection
at the museum of La Galeria Central de la l. Municipalidad de Cuenca Ecuador.

Represented
Museums, private and public collections, companies, country councils, municipalities and art associations

Assignments
Art teacher Jury assignments
Art pedagogue

Selected One Person Exhibitions
PicaFlor, BismarckStrasse 99, Berlin 2016
Sundsvall Museum, Sweden 2015
Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2013
Casa de la Cultura Aguimes, Spain 2013
Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2010
Galleria Ars Longa,Finland 2010
Museo de Arte Moderno, Ecuador 2010
Gallery Catherine Bajar, Finland 2008
Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2007
Sigtuna Kulturgård, Sweden 2007
Suomi Gallery, Sweden 2007
Art Fair, Sweden 2007
Gallery Ett, Sweden 2006
Stockholm, Art Fair, Sweden 2006
Gallery Vingen, Sweden 2006
Gallery Abante, Sweden 2006
Stockholm Art Fair, Sweden 2005
Ekeby Qvarn Art Space, Sweden 2004
Taxinge Slott, Sweden 2003-2004
Gallery Master Olof, Sweden 2003
Gallery Olika, Sweden 2002

Selected Group Exhibitions
ArtExpo, New York April 2016
Bengtsfors Art Hall, Sweden 2009
International Compact with Iraq, Annual review conference, Gallery Infra, Sweden 2008
Boundaries and Control, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2007
Nordic Watercolour, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2007
Nordic Watercolour, Luleå Art Hall, Sweden 2007
Nordic Watercolour, Ronneby Culture Centre, Sweden 2007
Aqua Di Colori Watercolour exhibition, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2006
Christmas Art Exhibition, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2005
Aqua Di Colori, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2005
Summer Exhibition, Ekeby Qvarn Art Space, Sweden 2005
Summer Exhibition, Edsvik Art Hall, Sweden 2005
Villa Grünewald, Sweden 2004
Vasby Art Hall, Sweden 2004
Gallery Infra, Sweden 2004
A number of Jury Selected Exhibitions on Vasby Art Hall, Sweden 2002-2005
Exhibition Gerlesborg Art School, France 2002
Summer Exhibitions, Baldersnas Dalsland, Sweden 2001-2006

Memberships
NAS, Nordic Artist’s Society
KRO, Swedish Artists’ Association
FSK, Association of Swedish Women Artists
BUS, Visual Arts Copyright Society in Sweden


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When the Eye Catches Vision

What do we sense when the eye catches vision? What is recognized by the eye? The entire universe lies hovering independently on its own in the realm between our visual reality and the unseen, invisible for the naked eye. ···

Dominating elements in our surroundings have their very own domains where plain seeing bears no longer any meaning. Human spirit seeks a deeper purpose and we shift towards the instinctive, the intuitive itself. Further existences are created. Further worlds are reflected but where could the essence of the eternal purpose be found… the fundamental elements? Everything lies inside the limits of the possible. The entity is gradually completed, layers upon layers in progress and through experience.

In her creativity expressions Maya Rygaard becomes a path maker, she introduces us to something metaphysical that should not exist or should it?

With colours and in something that at first appears as a mere stain we receive the key. The key to the worlds which lie beyond the limits for our thinking in physical terms. A mere stain, an image that curiously yarns for the essence of life. While regarding her paintings we shall see the worlds which have evolved on their own merits and Maya is an extended part of its existence transforming her person to a guiding mediator. You will see and you will be seen by the painting. Obviously, we all search for the meaning of life, something feasible that would explain the existence, breathing and the perishable nature of our life. We keep on searching and exploring in a never ending manner. In a meditative state we wonder along the entangled threads that runs interlaced like the universe, beyond our imagination. If one cannot be comforted by Maya's paintings, at least they are reflecting something referential: they point onward but without losing their connection with the past which gives us inflictions upon the self-evident, inflictions we never knew existed.

She enlivens the colours and the colours enliven her. She paints with diffuse but beautiful brushes. Like an old photography the image is etched into your mind and you shall see. You see with invisible senses and the image will settle down with sensitivity and seriousness deep in your innermost being.

Thereby a spiritual gravitation, a spiritual magnetism will raise, a kind of peculiar remembrance which evokes a whisper and we shall rest in the momentum. A symbiotic coexistence between aesthetics and solemnity.

At times one finds oneself thinking, what happened just now? The colours create a world that somewhere in you inner self reverbs and the memories gush our. In our history, in your history, certain calmness resides. We find comfort in remebering and art, Maya's art, acknowledges this. In a painting one sees the past, the changes and the future. The circle of life tolls purely in your ears with soberness and your senses are opened wide, prepared to meet the unknown.

Landscapes, plains, spring lights and oceans, sequences out of the momentum we brought to a halt on. Parts of the world and the earth which inhabit their own tales. They exhibit tones which create a continuous resonance in harmony with nature and our spiritual existance. Oceans, bluish chaos and megastructures trying to settle the order in their inbound vulnerability. The result of our own contemporary hubris.

What shall happen when we pass the boundaries for our own capacity? Its effect is sometimes desolate; it may turn our barren arid and harsh. Nevertheless, we deiscover the soft and gentle in the nuances of sand, greenish and even darkness still sharing the lucidity of light. In its condensed essence and between the layers all the good still exists. Like when catching the glimpse of plain marsh where fragile life thrives in its softness and warmth. Without lecturing she guide us with soft brushes and colours shifting from shade to another in a seemingly endless continuity, she sees, the image sees and thus the Eye Catches Vision.

Luciano Escanilla
Curator

Fragrance of Art

A friend of mine, actually my very best friend since our early age when we went to school, a young lady who later became a literary critic, told me once: ”Poetry is like a fragrance in the written form”. ··· Perfumes can indeed be as complex as anything you can imagine, something one can buy in elaborately sculptured flasks…or else as delicately euphoric in its simplicity as white lilies or hyacints…or else as unfakably refined as roses or some orchids in wild. But nature’s wonders are not merely scents of the pleasant kind but sometimes quite disturbing in spite of the fact that the very blossoms may look like the most beautiful flowery specimen you could encounter as certain species of rare camellias (Camellia sasanqua) which can unmistakably emit a faint but ubiquitous, pungent scent of mildew. In this particular kind of dualism you can certainly talk about a capricious beauty with two different faces: the visually entitling one and the insidious repelling opposite which give the entire experience a rather surrealistic dimension. But the art of composing perfumes is still the legacy of some specialists literally their noses in their work. These delightful liquids are a tediously balanced mixture of aromatic compounds, fixatives and of course solvents as in a painter’s work. But we usually use metaphoric musical terms to describe the different characteristic sets or layers of ”notes” which produces the whole assembly of the harmonious continuity of the scents…starting with the top notes which are perceived as the very first sensation and followed by middle notes (also called the ”heart”). The top ”notes” and middle ”notes” interact in order to raise the sensation of the fragrant very much like a musical introduction. Base ”notes” finally produce the main theme together with the middle ”notes”, the very foundation where this metaphoric musical composition gets its volatile climax in order to evaporate to nothing but a faint fragrant remembrance, nostalgic reminder of the scent as a residue.

The impression the very first time, when I saw Maya Rygaard’s paintings, gave me at strong feeling of recognition, something totally different but the impressive ”features” were nevertheless rather the same as a clear recall. It took about one year for me to understand finally and fully these common features and mainly because of the fact that I got an opportunity to study Maya’s paintings at her studio which was basically a turning point for my understanding the common features I had previously recalled. I had associated Maya Rygaard’s paintings with metaphoric fragrance in the same sense as making perfumes: there was a presence of crisp top ”notes” followed by more serene middle ”notes” and finally something that sometimes tends to sinister and sometimes to fascinating solemn elements, even sacral base ”notes” as if all these were deliberately layered there by the artist herself. However this was not intentionally meant as I learned later during our discussions but still vividly present in her work. There is a history behind my fascination about perfumes since two decades ago when I had a chance to visit a workshop where these highly skilled professionals were demonstrating and blending new compositions of fragrant ingredients of which some had more resemblance to a rather unpleasant odour than anything refined as a scent. But in diluted concentrations they could turn to a totally different matter, an enticingly pleasant and utterly refined experience instead. Mixing perfumes is not chemistry but the intelligible achievement of human creative powers. Actually I had never since reflected upon mixing scents until I met Maya Rygaard and got emotionally ”seized” with her work. The complexity is unmistakably present in the same sense as I described previously with different kind of moods and atmospheric effects. Maya’s bold sincerity made a deep impression on me while she was displaying her paintings in her atelier including the unfinished ones. She asked me if I could see which paintings had got their final touch and which had not! Honestly I could see the difference between the completed and the uncompleted ones. But I could absolutely not tell what was missing. She had this distinctly unfeigned approach to art and not at least when it concerns her own part without a hinge of shyness…not a trace of is even before those paintings which actually looked like a couple of nervous brush strokes over the canvas and nothing else. But this was still crucial for my understanding of how she created through a process of evolution rather than a deliberate planning of painting in order to depict something. Her creative sense (it is truly a sense) still remaining totally mysterious to me. I gladly make a wild guess that nobody will ever uncover the mystery of her artistry: the closer I came to her work the further I got in the mystery undoubtedly, e.g. learning more was equal to knowing less of her creative characteristics. That, if something, is the true mystery.

After the show in her studio I was listening to her and learned how she went trough a momentary meditative phase while walking to her atelier, as if it was a process of synchronizing the leading spirit of her nature with the tasks of an artist before she actually took place on the ”stage”. Maya is not only a gifted painter she is also a veracious actress of art amongst her piece of work, a different personality from the role of everyday life. What it really means is certainly something one has to experience rather than just to try to understand. I do not actually understand the final result of this process but I understand the phenomenon…because I have experienced it myself. One of the most puzzling aspects in many artists’ work is the fact that there are so many shifting and expressive shades in their artistic repertoire but while you try to figure out what they really want to mediate with their artistry, which seems obvious to me: the impression is fairly hard to express in words. This is certainly one of the main reasons why they mainly became painters and surprisingly not writers. Unfortunately for those who seek messages and especially subtle hidden clues in artists’ work cannot get those hints in Maya’s paintings: she does not want to and she does not act as an intermediate link between the unconscious part of our soul longing for inner revelations and tidings. She does not write a short story by painting! She simply paints of mere power of the creative skills of her own soul! This is something that Maya clearly emphasized during our discussions.

Naturally, this causes the mystery condense even further and I truly believe there was a deep understanding between us: we talk the same language of shapes and colours but it consists of verbal approximations to confirm the mutual understanding far beyond the necessity of the exact and precise communication. And I do agree with her: there is no need to send messages. The spectator’s experience with aesthetic values is actually the only virtue a true artist needs. I shall give all my respect to those who want to evoke a topic but at the same time the mystery is missing when the ”secret” is explained…more or less in the same way as it would be if the author attached a formula to the product of perfume to make it more comprehensible. And even if we could read the contents it is less likely that it made us understand the intentions better clearly because most of us still interpret the written word after our own heads.

The variety of moods in Maya Rygaard’s works ranges within her palettes from pure hilarious sensuality in pastels via lavish yellowish and ferocious orange, red tones to darkness of nightmares of black. Consequently she is not repetitive as if she went on working in one particular ”subclass” of paintings…even if we can justifiably call her art abstract, nonfigurative and spontaneous instead of meticulously designed in squares and geometrical fields. Her only statement concerning her artistry is still her own personal and honest opinion that her paintings might be a bit difficult for people to cope with and mainly because they are not flattering with themes of easy sweetness and they are devoid of obvious messages. It is certainly difficult if one thinks art as a message board as if it were the very meaning. Most of all Maya is for me a composer of different palettes with more resemblance of evolutionary forces behind her paintings than the mere serfdom of manmade, painted surfaces. Her aesthetic sense includes even the framing work (pieces of art on their own) which forms a splendid background for her artistry. As I mentioned the background I cannot help thinking of the historic values behind the mansion (which once belonged to Queen Kristina) where she lives, gets inspiration and does much of her work in the surroundings of this ancient scenery where her artistry thrives and mysteriously evolves to physical ”reincarnations”as her paintings. As I understood the themes come to life deep in her mind unconsciously and meditation is essential to free her inner self of all ordinariness. At the same time her engagement in restoring the historical English park and the main building which I can understand is such an enterprise that would make anybody’s sense of reality securely earthbound…in a way a counter meditation for freeing the mind from the very process of creation which can consume much of one’s strength even if it may be highly rewarding. This is an amazing and harmonious coexistence between the time passed and the era conserved long ago in the first place and as the opposite one can see the dynamic presence of creative, modern and refreshing spirit looking forward without hesitation, fully flourishing artistic skills with the mystery flawlessly intact.

Christofer Catilan
Author

"Four Seasons"
A reflection of natural Scandinavia

Seeing is eye's reason, but not its function.
Reading is the eye's function, but not its movement.
Perceiving is the eye's movement, but not its power.
Illuminating is the eye's power, but not its attribute. Absence
WITHOUT images; outside time; is the eye's attribute and its virtual annihilation ···

The pictorial collection by Swedish artist Maya Rygaard, explores the enduring cultural importance of the Scandinavian landscape. The landscape began to take on a special significance at the start of the XIX century.

Legendary painters such as Edward Munch, Vilhelm Hammershöi, Carl Larsson and Akseli Gallen-Kallela were starter motors for the strong Scandinavian tradition in landscape art.

As the XIX century came to a close, landscape art became more subjective in its form and content. We can observe more metaphorical and personal landscapes, interacting with the artist's emotions and mood changes, manifested through intensity or the choice of pallet at any given moment.

Maya Rygaard proceeds along the classical romantic path forged by the Nordic tradition in landscape art. She explores and experiments, moving from romantic classical landscapes into the abstract. Her monumental works are influenced by loneliness and melancholy, while directly reflecting the natural world of north-central Sweden.

Her works, with their powerful psychological aura, are influenced by the themes and colours of the four seasons. The long Swedish winter, for instance, with its dark pallet, near blacks, that guide us to solitary places, isolated and abandoned in eternal shadows, places that imprison us and drive us to contemplate countless existential questions about our times.

Maya Rygaard's painting is a search and an investigation into the different physical and metaphysical states of the Scandinavian landscape. A search to hoard magical moments where light and darkness play a pivotal role in the creation and shaping of each chosen landscape, and where nature's elements bear upon the living.

In "The four seasons" we see a playful Maya Rygaard, portraying her different moods, swayed by reactions to her trips through Sweden, Finland and Norway. We observe instances of loneliness, melancholy, warmth and coldness, poetic and dramatic states.

Maya Rygaard's work seeks to illuminate small connections and fragments which link northern romanticism and modern abstraction. She was inspired by essayist Robert Rosenblum, who identified the seeds of modern abstract art in the romantic landscape art of the XIX century. An idea he expressed in his influential essay "Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradition: Friedrich to Rothko".

This New York art historian and critic, who died in 2006, linked aesthetics and the historical-cultural tradition of primitive northern romanticism to European and American modern abstract painting. He cited artists from both artistic tendencies, such as Carl Gustav Carus, Carl Blechen, Turner, Constable, Van Gogh, Munch, Klee, Kandinsky and Max Ernst, in order to illustrate a pictorial evolution and observe the introduction of abstraction into landscape representations.

His study concludes by discussing landscapes by prominent figures in American abstract expressionism like Mark Rothko, Adolf Gottlieb, Barnett Newman and Jaksson Pollock. He also observes how the influence of romanticism lives on in the work of two contemporary European artists, Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter.

Maya Rygaard has worked with landscape as a basic concept since the end of 2004. She has been investigating the most imaginative aspects of Scandinavian natural mythology: an investigation into the relationship between presence and absence, involving scenes of raw nature, without the mark of human presence, without time. We can observe signs of the endless routine changes of the seasons, where raw nature seizes every corner of our existence. Her painting has its own sensual language, free from the rules of verbal expression.

Ricardo Donoso
Art Director
Edsvik Konsthall