“I admire works of historic Swedish landscape painters such as Helmer Osslund or Inge Schiöler who have that natural abstraction but my practice is more about getting under the bark, more existential, more urban, more mundane.”- J.A, March 2016
Working from his studios in London, Allgulander has for the past year immersed himself in a deeply personal study of the landscapes that surrounded him as a child growing up in rural Sweden. This new body of work is composed of semi- abstract studies of snowy spruce trees extracted from photographs and memory. The paintings become fragments, a whole tree is not depicted, the detail being symbolic of the essence of childhood memories but also a natural recognizable abstraction in itself.
The layering technique used by Allgulander refers directly to this notion of memory and its multitude of dimensions. The images, built up with oil paint and washes, could be seen as references to the manner in which our brains frequently overlay latter additions to existing recollections. The original memory becomes overshadowed yet it still permeates, much like the first layer of paint beneath the final surface of the work. At times one spruce tree has been painted across several canvases. Contrasting shading and colour palettes are used in order explore how differing methods of applying the paint or ambient conditions affect the final viewing experience.
Much like Claude Monet’s approach to his Rouen Cathedral series, Allgulander has no intention of creating a painting that mirrors reality in its entirety. He strives to create an object, a piece almost like a sculpture but with paint on a flat surface. The abstraction comes with the colour and the texture of the paint and it is only when the work begins to feel more like a sculpture or an object that Allgulander can feel truly fulfilled with what he has created.
In essence Joakim Allgulander ́s work is far removed from our traditional notions of the picturesque. His experiences of living in the fast paced urban environment of London has, on a subtle psychological level, seeped into the mysterious deep depths of the Nordic forests.