T.L. Solien Exhibition The Foreseeable Past Reviewed in the Shepherd Express

“The Foreseeable Past,” a solo exhibition by T. L Solien at Tory Folliard Gallery, is full of paintings with overtones of tradition, but intriguingly strange despite their friendly, vivid hues. They bring together collage and flat colors with subtle notes of disconcerting places. A companion exhibition by Swedish artist Erika Nordqvist follows suit, but with distinct variation.

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T.L. Solien – “Norwegian Costume”

T.L. Solien’s new work “Norwegian Costume” is both monumental in scale and subject.  This dramatic acrylic on canvas painting measures 96 x 68 inches, and like most of Solien’s work is psychologically intense.  The woman in this painting is dressed in atraditional costume from her home country.  Does she look so serious because she realizes that she left many friends and comforts back in the old country? The figure is based on a circa 1938 photograph of the artist’s mother and from T.L. Solien’s “Westward Expansion Series.”  Solien says of this painting, “The image stands as a metaphor for the disruption of tradition, isolation…..imposed or self-imposed, and potential for a violent response of conclusion. Part of what appears to be a small coffin is on one side, a kitten walks nonchalantly toward the other edge, as woman clutches a pair of rakes behind her back.  Silhouettes of discarded bottles, cans, cacti and a broken window and fence suggest the harsh life of a new immigrant in an unforgiving environment.  The straight stance, direct gaze, and colorful costume of the Norwegian woman suggest pride, perseverance, and tenacity in spite of the difficulty adjusting to a new life.

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