COMING UP/ With a Strong and Colourful Brush
Paintings by Maija Isola, 15 April – 12 September 2021
Maija Isola’s (1927-2001) career as a painter spanned nearly five decades. She is widely known both at home and internationally for the print patterns she created for Finnish design house Marimekko. Many of her now-iconic designs were painted by hand and remain hugely popular to this day, but her artistic output is less well known.
Maija Isola’s paintings from the early 1950s are charaterised by their abstraction, featuring three-dimensional shapes that appear to float through space like escapees from a mechanical engineering textbook. During the following decade, she drew influences from pop art and informalism, while her 1970s canvases are more figurative and decorative.
Maija Isola took her inspiration from the cultures she immersed herself in. The light and colours of Paris, the Mediterranean, Northern Africa and the Appalachian Mountains are all captured in her work. Her paintings are invariably prompted by an intense personal experience, bright sunshine or light reflecting on water, and often evoke the shapes, colours and motifs of dreams. Above all, Maija Isola was an individualist, and her work throughout is characterised by her potent and colourful visual expression. Imbued with a surrealist timelessness, her works frequently reference the fantastical and are associated with a distinctive and multi-layered symbolic language.
The exhibition at Hämeenlinna Art Museum offers a comprehensive overview of the Maija Isola’s paintings from the 1950s until the 1990s. At the core of the display will be a collection of 43 works gifted to the museum in 1991 by the artist herself. They will be complemented by further works on loan from other private and public collections. The exhibition is curated by Päivi Viherluoto.