Artist of the Month - Ebba Bring

February 1, 2023

Ebba Bring (b. 1958, Sweden) works in many idioms and media, with drawing, painting and objects. Artistic reflections on spatial properties, form and formal properties are prominent in the works. Throughout Bring's artistic practice is investigation, or an experimentation with the material, technique and colours. The motifs testify to deep concentration work, executed with precision and often with the use of repetitive elements. The works are experienced as direct and sensual, where even text does not need to have a direct meaning. The works should be experienced and felt, more than they should be understood.

Bring has her education from the Norwegian School of Handicrafts and Art Industry and the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts. She teaches at Einar Granum Art School. Bring has had many exhibitions and she has been purchased by, among others, the National Museum, Statoil, the Art Council Norway and Stortinget.

TF: Can you tell us a little about your artistic work?  

EB: I work with painting, drawing and objects. For me, it is a way of thinking with the hands, a dialogue between thought, idea and action. I associate rather than explain in my works. The time it takes to approach an expression, a material; and persisting in the conversation between hand, action and thought occupies me.  

Parallel to my own artistic practice, I teach at Granum Art School and hold mosaic workshops at the Mural Workshop in Lilleborg.

TF: Why do you draw? Tell us a little about your work process.

EB: I often draw when I don't know what to do - Without any goal, I try to find something meaningful in moving the hand that holds the pencil and leaves traces in the paper. If I endure the meaninglessness, something will happen.  

I like what happens when I think about something else, something that happens in passing. Then I stop and look at what I have drawn. From there I draw further.

TF: Can you name some artists with focus on drawing who inspire you?  

EB: Lately I've been watching Carl Fredrik Hill. I really like his drawings of trees. I often look at Goya's drawings and etchings. He is also a fantastic painter. There are many great artists with focus on drawing in Norway; Kittelsen, Werenskiold, Vanessa Baird and Mette Hellenes.

TF: What themes concern you as an artist?

EB: The starting point is often a material. I strive for a kind of freedom, to the extent that it is possible. If the work relates to a theme, it arises during the work process. I am interested in color and materiality. I like to look at the look and sound of words, writing and fonts. Books are important, both as objects and carriers of content.  

I often work with nature, trees and forests in my drawings.

TF: What does drawing mean to you in your work?  

EB: In Swedish there are the two verbs "att teckna" and "att rita". I've been thinking a bit about the difference between the two. As a child I 'drew', it turned out nice, then it became 'a teckning'.

There is a greater freedom and ease for me in "drawing". The drawing can grow into something in itself, or remain as a draft. It's nice that drawing can be simple, something that shouldn't turn into anything, isn't going anywhere.  

Sometimes the drawing is a sketch, a starting point for something to be expressed in another material. I often sketch in pencil and watercolor if I am making a proposal for a public work.

TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!

EB: I made the two drawings in the sales department during a stay at Dale Art Centre. There I was drawn into the eternal changeability of the weather. It was almost never quiet in Dale, but there were no man-made sounds, it was the wind as a friend, rain and snow falling, lightning and thunder and trees twisting and sighing. Lots of ho-hoing from owls! From the studio and residence I had a nice view, so I enjoyed using binoculars a lot.

I have always been interested in adventure and fantasy. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books and the Sea of Earth series by Ursula K Le Guin, I read as a child. Tolkien's own illustrations I looked at. In my childhood, it was only natural that nature was animated. I felt that very strongly when I was in Dale. The drawings are inspired by it.

There is also a sound in the drawings. During the work I listened to a lot of Sun O))), a band that works a lot with drone sounds, dark and hard, it has left its mark on the expression.

I have drawn on Arches watercolor paper, painted first with watercolor and then drew on top. The drawing grows out of traces with a hard pencil. Then I seal the groove with a soft pencil. It is a sprawling work process. It is important to stop in time.


See available works by Ebba Bring in our online shop.