Artist of the Month : Heidi Øiseth

Apr 1, 2020

Heidi Øiseth (1961) has been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2010. She often works in large format on unprepared canvas, and uses pencil, felt-tip pen, charcoal, pastel chalk, but also unconventional materials such as coffee to perform her works. Øiseth's work often consists of shadings that make some of the works at a distance almost monochrome. Another striking element is the reduced use of color consisting of black, and earth tones which, together with the repetitive shading and canvas substrate, evoke associations of deposits and corrosion. The works invite the viewer to immerse themselves in the image surface, and here one literally begins to feel the time, and not least the time that has passed through each individual line. Heidi Øiseth's works can be described as slow, almost meditative, at the same time as they open up a new perspective in each consideration.

Heidi Øiseth lives and works in Oslo. More information about Heidi Øiseth here .

TF: Heidi, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?

HØ: I work with drawing in an intuitive process. My projects are based on psychological processes, a backdrop of emotions, where the rug itself is used as a symbol bearer, something that covers, hides and protects. The materials are mainly unprepared canvas fabric as a drawing base, but the canvas fabric is also used as a material in large collages. The fabrics are embossed with materials such as felt-tip pens, coffee, dust, soot, wear over time, then drawings are added with charcoal, pastel chalk, crayons and pencil, or other types of fabrics and I also use stitching as a line.

TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process!

HØ: In «Layers» which is the project I am working on now, I use the same unprepared cotton canvas as before. I have used this material since 2006. The canvas surface is characterized over time, with felt-tip pens, coffee and through wear. In the project «Behind the Layers…» I drew with charcoal and pastel chalk, until I met my own limitation. The surface clogged up again and in the end I had to surrender to the result, as we often have to in life. The application of streaks became a kind of performative challenge.

In my latest project, I uncover the surface, remove the thick surfaces with pastel lines and this is how the works appear naked, raw and unexplained. Here emotions are covered through an action, where something covers something else. The line from previous works has now been replaced with physical patches as a drawing element, where patches cover tracks and a collage work emerges. The canvases are hung individually or as layered flakes, as book pages, with stories and memories. The fabrics have been lying on the floor, where traces of dust residues, everyday stains and natural wear and tear occur over time, as a result of my work. Collagen is also added to pieces of fabric from other canvas material or old fabrics such as worn clothes, clothes that carry memories. I also apply intuitive drawings, lines, "notes" and moods, which are a kind of diary notes.

The time aspect is important, as the work says something about the time it takes, where the hand's meticulous work meets surfaces that are worn over time, and which in the end can also emerge as something else. I look for sensations of something old, notes, diary notes that tell something about feelings the body remembers, or about what is hidden from us.


TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?

HØ: I do not decide on themes, they are created along the way. I work intuitively and do not quite know the way forward. It is an emotionally driven project. A place to be. Thematically, my work is about describing psychological processes and about how some emotions cover other emotions. We see the secondary feeling, but not the primary feeling. Events and memories affect our lives, so I also highlight something many people face in psychological challenges, powerlessness, stress, anxiety and depression. The time we live in is reflected in us humans and we have never had greater challenges than now. I'm busy with these stresses. I describe this by erasing and covering with lines or with collages where old drawings and pieces of fabric are used to correct the surface and hide feelings that can be difficult.

In the project "Behind the Layers" I covered with dense surfaces of streaks, in "Layers" the streaks are removed and the more bare surface is more visible, but I still remove and cover, but in "Layers" with fabrics and pieces of fabric .

In "Black Corner", old clothes or memories are sewn into the works and hidden. Hiding can also be about maintaining some control over what is visible on the surface. Yet the traces, or remnants of them, are present. What we sweep under the rug lies there.


TF: What are you currently working on?

HØ: Currently working on the projects «Layers» and «Black Corner». The "Black Corner" project has emerged in parallel with the "Layers" project and now feels relevant, as the world is now experiencing anxiety and isolation. I did not know what challenges the world would face when this work began. This is therefore a personal project.

‍ "Black Corner" is an installation. Here I want to create an emotional state. Through the spatial qualities of the installation, I try to create an unknown place, a mental state, where much of the walls and a corner are covered with carpets. It is closed, a kind of isolation from the world, a silence, where one goes inwards within oneself and does not look outwards. The walls are covered with colored cotton canvas, a tight protection. On the wall hangs an old duvet cover, along with colored pieces of fabric that hide stories. There are many expressions that can be interpreted as drawing. "Black Corner" becomes a drawing for me, where the pieces of fabric create the drawing and composition in the installation. Some pieces are covered by others and these again by strips of fabric, fastened with needles. On the floor are colored old sheets. Knots rest here, sewn from old clothes and filled with old clothes. The control knots are hand-dyed and embroidered, here the seam is dashed, and the objects or objects are also dotted with felt-tip pen and pencil. Hard-sewn knots that will not let anything out, so you can encapsulate yourself in anxiety, something many people experience when our lives and the world are confusing and insecure.

What associations can one get to such a place, where one is pushed into a corner, a room for the known or the unknown, where the future is unclear. Maybe I'm trying to reformulate something, where the answers are not obvious and the stories are hidden in matter, the objects, the incomprehensible, what settles in the body.


TF: What does drawing mean for you / your work?

HØ: Drawing is a state for me, a place to be, a sanctuary. The works arise through a meticulous and intuitive work process, a presence that creates a space without conclusive answers. The drawing challenges patience through the details. I try to reach down to something unconscious, but still experienced. Not the knowledge in the surface or the facts, but this fluid as; "A fluctuating center, which forms never reach". Fluctuation means to flow freely, or something that floats over a fluid accumulation, as my lines flow over a surface of felt-tip pens. I do not try to control, but let the changes happen, where one project leads to another through discoveries along the way. Process can be a river that is constantly in motion, but which sometimes flows in streams, sometimes flows smoothly and which at times can calm down in a beautiful pool. Process is change for me. The choices lie in the materials, colors, drawing tools and formats. The meaning, the stories the works tell, can change through the materials. Processes require patience, perseverance, perseverance and a room for doubt. I draw surface, energy, no energy, silence, weight, body, emotions, sensation, wrap or erase.

I draw experience, something I know about, something that is mine. Emotions that do not require contact with the head. The head is prone to rationalize or take the blame. The teams become an experience between past and present, the backdrop is past, the surface above can be something to cover; covers as a film for blurred memories. Emotions are more believable than thought. Everything you think is not true. Drawing can be a way to find your way back to yourself and through this you may see others better as well. Why I hang the works as rugs, is because it may be a stage rug that will soon be raised, we are ready and waiting for the stories behind… future and hope.

Drawing, rhythms, days that go by, repetitions, traditions, the time it takes to work, are things that bind us together and give life meaning. Something experienced can become clearer to us when it is repeated, written again and again, told again and again, as the line is also repeated in a drawing.


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

HØ: The works in Tegnerforbundet are two smaller works. They are entitled "In a Distance". These works arose at the end of the process of the exhibition, "Behind the Layers, you will perhaps find the Surface" in Tegnerforbundet . The works are the first traces of one of my latest projects, "Layers". "In a Distance" is made of fabrics. The images are material in their tactility and surface. Fabric binds to memories, smells and emotions. Substance binds us to the past, people, but can also hide untold stories.

The canvases I work on are embossed with coffee. The spots can be reminiscent of a map, a coastline, a draft or just a trace of time. Lines and signs, tell of a state, where thoughts flow away. Through the line's repetition, a covering takes place that can say something about what lies behind it. Tight streaks cover the soft, but not completely, and traces of coffee are present. The lines can be time, days, hours. The repetition of life.

"In a Distance" is closely linked to a place, in my case a jetty, the sea horizon and old drafts. I look at the very act of creating the work as an expression of the value of the time it takes, where all the lines are slowly drawn by hand. Presence is also a condition that is evoked in me when I sit on the pier and look out over the sea. Then everything becomes completely quiet. You can not hunt for the most valuable answers, you have to wait for them and I find this contact by the sea, look outwards to look inwards.

The project also expresses the map's importance of finding the way. Find your way in personal history and in its place in the world.


Available works by Heidi Øiseth in the online store .