Artist of the Month : Mette Stausland

Sep 1, 2021

Mette Stausland (1956) works exclusively with drawing in her art, and most often with pencil on paper. Through Stausland's drawing process, a motif is developed that appears free and intuitive in terms of composition, at the same time as the artist shows a controlled awareness of what drawing is. Stausland's pencil line leaves traces on the paper, which the artist then erases, knowing that the line will never disappear completely. This method complements and examines the print and gives the drawing a direct, playful and organic form. Stausland is represented in several public gatherings, including in France, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy and Germany. She also has an impressively long line of exhibition activities behind her. Stausland lives and works from Denmark. Read more about the artist here .

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

MS: Originally I left Norway to study abroad, but due to various circumstances I settled in Switzerland and started my career there. In a way, this was ideal, it was a culture shift, and with easy access to many European countries. Over time, I developed good connections to both galleries and collectors in a number of countries.

In 2015, I decided to move permanently back to Scandinavia after 30 years in Central Europe. Working abroad challenged me and broadened my horizons. However, this eventually became subject to the same factors that caused me to move out. Such as conformity and comfort.

Now that I have returned to Scandinavia and my cultural and family roots after such a long absence, it is not with a desire for security in the known. In many ways, this is the opposite.
It is extraordinary in the experience of returning to my homeland and to my origins, and then in many ways as a stranger, as a foreigner.

I have to re-explore what once shaped me and relate this to the conditions as they are now, through eyes that once sought relevance elsewhere.

TF: How do you use drawing in your work?

MS: Drawing is for me about looking. About a journey. I start with a loose idea and then try to discover what is unfolding on paper. What initiates the search is curiosity. Not a curiosity about something that already exists or has a name, but something that arises in a process of discovery. Something that ignites a kind of "feedback loop", which gives me the opportunity to find meaning in the "sound" of the experience, and in my imagination.

In this way, paper is for me a scene and more than just a sheet. As for any dancer, actor or musician, the work begins with established features, which soon leaves room for improvisation and experimentation. As this dialogue continues, character and meaning emerge.

TF: What are you currently working on?

MS: In the last year I have worked with large pencil drawings from the "Vange Series".

There is a direct relationship between scale and time in the format of the drawings. A larger work insists on a longer, deeper and more complex journey for me. In such works, the paper is often processed to the extreme before I come to a conclusion. Variations and experiments that have mostly been erased are stacked under the final drawing as an echo of previous stories.

Finally, the drawing is filtered and edited until a certain clarity is achieved. The works that arise deliberately have an ambiguity and are thus open to interpretation. In contrast to abstraction, they are not refined "essences" of things, but they evoke resonances, inner images that shape our actual, visual experience.

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

MS: Drawing is for me the most immediate form of expression.

I do not collect sources for my work in any conventional sense. I've never done that. I also do not have collections with preparatory drawings, photographs, random pictures or the like that I will return to.

It would be easier if I could draw a straight line from a source to finished work, but I can not.

To me, the process is messy, more complex and more unpredictable. It is a search for something that triggers me, maybe it is distant memories that contain both familiar things and surprises. There is something that arises between a question and an answer.

The subject in my practice is illusory - fleeting - something that easily escapes, or something that captures the imagination. Each finished work often contains traces of previous drawings - experiments that have preceded the final picture. There is almost a story about the process available in each drawing.


See available works by Mette Stausland in the online store.