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Camilla Vuorenmaa: My Heroes and Monsters Walk Hand in Hand

April 20  to June 15, 2023

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 20th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.


Camilla Vuorenmaa, photo credit:Mia Dillemuth

HANCOCK, MI – HANCOCK, MI – Finlandia University Gallery will present My Heroes and Monsters Walk Hand in Hand, an exhibit by Finnish artist Camilla Vuorenmaa at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), Hancock from April 20  to June 15, 2023.

Camilla Vuorenmaa, Little blue, 2018, maalaus ja kaiverrus puulle / painting and carving on wood

A reception for the artist will take place at the gallery, Thursday, April 20th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Camilla Vuorenmaa creates large scale works on wood and canvas.  The physicality of her wood pieces combine carving and painting in a rich interplay of texture and color.  It is the unique combination of technical physicality, lyrical color  and thoughtful underlying content that makes the artist’s work so impactful.

Camilla Vuorenmaa, Carrie & Leia, 2021, painting and carving on wood, 60″ x 48″

“My works are glimpses of the moments when internal movement takes place,” notes Vuorenmaa. “The main theme of my work is the experience of the individual and the struggle for survival that reflects the phenomena of time and history. As broader phenomena, I am interested in generational experiences and human activities as part of a group.”

All the work in “My Heroes and Monsters Walk Hand in Hand” have been created recently and bring together many of Vuorenmaa’s repeating themes.

For example, she has several pieces in this exhibit that feature Carrie Fisher’s character Leia from the Star Wars movie series.  In the painting Carrie/Leia, the face is divided, portraying the different sides of the actor Carrie Fisher and the character Leia Organa. “I have always been interested in the different sides of each individual’s nature,” says Vuorenmaa.

Carrie by the pond 2, 2022, maalaus ja kaiverrus puulle / painting and carving on wood

“I am also inspired by popular culture, horror and science fiction films, family dramas and biographies,” says Vuorenmaa. “I contemplate how history is repeated in modern phenomena and how the entertainment industry has taken part in the narrative continuum.”

Vuorenmaa participated in an artist residency at The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York City in 2019After that residency, she created The Jeans Medium, currently on display at Finlandia.  This piece is inspired by the spiritualistic movement that started in upstate New York and builds on Vuorenmaa’s long time interest in professional groups and their influence on the lives of their members.

“My fascination with the movement was connected to its influence on the contemporary artists of that time (for example Hilma af Klint, Georgina Houghton etc.) and also it´s connection to the women’s movement,” says Vuorenmaa. “I was interested in how artists have always found asylum inside different alternative movements. And also I am, like my early colleagues, of course interested in the idea of what happens after death.”

Vuorenmaa’s artistic practice is fluid and her work changes through its creation, creating a sense of rawness and depth.  “Often the painting changes many times and the original vision may be very far from the final version simply because the mind changes while making the picture,” explains Vuorenmaa. “ But in making and looking at a painting, there is also the joy of life and a deep longing to express these things that touch me and make me think. I feel that a completely realistic description is not enough for what I want to show, because in the end the surface is just one level with many others underneath. The raggedness and clumsiness are part of a certain way of expressing the painting that suits me.”

Vuorenmaa graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Department of Painting at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Helsinki) in 2005.

In 2022, Vuorenmaa had an exhibit at the Gallery Helsinki Contemporary.  She was awarded the William Thuring Art Prize in 2018 and was nominated as a candidate for Finland’s biggest art award Ars Fennica year 2017.  The Fine Arts Academy of Finland awarded its 2015 prize to Camilla Vuorenmaa. Part of the prize was large solo exhibition in EMMA- Espoo Modern Art Museum. She was also awarded with International Solo Award in 2013, in Spring exhibition, at Copenhagen, Denmark.

Other recent exhibitions include solo presentations at Joensuu Art Museum in 2021 and the Gallery Forum Box, Helsinki, Finland (Arena,2017), EMMA- Espoo Modern Art Museum, Espoo, Finland (Sea separates us, 2016), Gallery C4 projects, Copenhagen, Denmark (Gladiator and other portraits, 2014), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (Spring Exhibition solo, 2014), Gallery Huuto, Helsinki, Finland (Hidden place, 2011), TM-gallery, Helsinki, Finland (Where is the afterparty, 2008).
Her work has also been shown as part of group exhibitions such as Gallery Thomassen, Göteborg , Sweden (In Belly of Painting, 2017), Landskrona Konstmuseum (Sensual Knowledge, 2017), Salo Art Museum, Salo, Finland ( New Narrative and Reader, 2015), Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre, Manchester, England ( New Narrative and Reader, 2015), Amos Andersons Art museum, Helsinki, Finland ( Shift in The Shadows, 2015), Edsvik Konsthall, Sollentuna, Sweden (Akvarellsalong, 2014), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (Spring Exhibition, 2013)

This is exhibit has been sponsored by the following organizations, FRAME Contemporary Art Finland, The Alfred Kordelin Foundation, and TAIKE Arts Promotion Centre Finland.  The Hampton Inn & Suites of Houghton has generously provided housing for the artist for her stay in the Copper Country.

“My Heroes and Monsters Walk Hand in Hand” is on display at the Finlandia Art Gallery through June 15th.

The Finlandia Art Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock, 906-487-7500 or email Gallery hours are 9am-4:00pm Monday-Friday.