5 December 2013

Ørnulf Opdahl: New Paintings at Kings Place Gallery

I had never heard of Ørnulf Opdahl before and so would not have gone too far out of my way to see an exhibition of his paintings. Luckily I did not have to as the exhibition came to Kings Place Gallery which is in the same building as my office.

The main exhibition space was on Level -1 and walking carefully down the long staircase towards the large open area the paintings started to appear and made an immediate and striking impact due to their size and colour.

Getting closer, and the abstract mix of greys became a landscape with a thin row of lights from a settlement struggling for survival between the menacing sea and the brooding sky.

A couple of years ago I travelled along the coast of Norway, from Bergen to Trondheim, and Opdahl's Norway was a Norway that I recognised. And loved.

The pictures were mostly, but not exclusively, of the coast as viewed from the sea or an opposite shore and, despite being very darkly coloured, conveyed the sense of peace that Norway has outside of the towns and cities. The coastline is largely uninhabited with just the occasional shack to show that Man has ever been there.

With no Man to spoil the view, Nature is allowed to show-off what She can do and does this with towering cliffs, thick clouds and deep water.

I would gladly have any of these pictures at home. Sadly the larger ones were priced at up to £20k so that was not going to happen. Enough of the pictures had orange dots to show that other people felt the same way but had deeper pockets.

This was a pleasingly large exhibition too filling the two gallery areas on Level -1 and also stretching down to Level -2. A corporate lunch was about to start there but I managed to see the pictures down there and escape back upstairs before the guests arrived.

The smaller gallery on Level -1 had some smaller pictures (all sold I believe) and also some limited edition prints. They were £1k or less so somebody in a red and white outfit could get me one in the next few days. If not, I'll never believe in Santa Claus again.

Looking at the pictures again as I write this post I am impressed by their grandeur and I want to see them in their full-size glory again. I'll have to find another excuse to go in to the office.

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