An interview with Sirpa Särkijärvi on the occasion of her exhibition at Joe Nease gallery in Duluth in 2019.
Sirpa Särkijärvi's (b. 1974 in Muonio) paintings are reflections of time. They contemplate human existence and examine relationships of power, gender, behaviour, norms, marginalisation and exclusion. Their energetic painterliness, the power of their colours and their figurative physical force are inextricable from the conflicts of meaning between states of mind, consciousness and the subconscious and their fluctuating nature. Särkijärvi is interested in approaching her subjects from the perspective of literary deconstruction or critical reading to reveal hidden conflicts of meaning. We cannot escape each others' influence. Her paintings are inspired by our motivations, needs and the inconsistency of our actions, which together form the complex entity that the artist attempts to reflect in her work. What is between the lines is also important. Intertextuality, everything that has been experienced, seen and learned influences the artists's interpretation. Finally, viewers also receive and interpret everything in the painting through their own backgrounds and experiences.
Särkijärvi creates her paintings in several long and methodical painting sessions. Her method is technically rather demanding as she uses dozens of pre-mixed colours and it requires a lot of preparation, and development of the idea. Särkijärvi says that her goal is to immerse herself in the work so that painting becomes a tool for thought and contemplation. She paints with fluid acrylics onto a horizontal canvas where the paint flows and mixes to form planes of colour, movements and strokes, and the fragmented structure creates illusions that change depending on the distance they are viewed from. The vibrant and explosive material turns into considered and controlled images of humanity. The paintings seem at the same time out of control and closely controlled, just like the human mind often is.
Sirpa Särkijärvi lives and works in Turku but she was born in Muonio in Lapland. Her family's long history and deep roots in northernmost Finland have left their mark on her identity and influenced her visual approach.