Artist of the Month : Sigfrid Hernes

Jan 4, 2021

Sigfrid Hernes (1956) works with drawing, photography, video and animation, and has been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2006. Hernes often makes detailed drawings with felt-tip pen, chalk and pencil on paper. A recurring motif in her drawings is the landscape in and around Finnmark, where the artist lives.

Hernes landscape has something overwhelming and magical about it, and the use of black and white tones emphasizes its drama and the all-consuming silence that surrounds them. On the one hand, the works are almost of a documentary nature in their presentation of, for example, land borders through nature, erosion and deposition in rock formations, or human encroachment on the landscape through mining. On the other hand, the complete absence of people in the Hernes landscape can also be an expression of the lesser significance of man, compared to the nature that has always been there. This mixture of a factual, almost scientific approach and the existential, meditative undertone, gives Herne's drawings a distinctive expression. Sigfrid Hernes lives and works in Alta, Finnmark. More information about Sigfrid Hernes here.

TF: Sigfrid, can you tell us a little about your artistic practice?

SH: I graduated from the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in 1994. My graduation exhibition was drawings with black marker and felt-tip pen on white paper. The white paper and the black-and-white world also have our universe in retrospect, even though I use many kinds of drawing tools.

I work with photography and drawing, some video / animation and an installation until now.

After the academy, I made a series of drawings of still images from films and reports that were important to me. The title was "No way eighteen" "Point of no return". In these works, I draw the structure of the TV screen and the computer screen into the figurative still image. It was magical when television entered the home in the 60's. No new time to begin. The world out there was with one here, just a screen in between.

Nature is central to my drawings. In ancient landscapes, in mountains, under the sky, in between trees, by rocks and rivers, I find many of my motifs. Some titles in the series are; "My playground" "Get away - be in the dream" It is possible that it is about the longing eighteen to the time before television, before industry, before electricity.

I have had a permanent residence in Finnmark for 26 years. My relationship with the High North has changed in these years from feeling free in old landscapes to feeling unwell and miserable over all the interventions we make in nature. One can also say that the Norwegian-Russian border is an encroachment on nature that prevents people and animals from traveling freely. «Beautiful border. Do not cross the line »is an exhibition with drawings and photos, among other things, shown at Teminal B, The girls on the bridge, in Kirkenes in 2018.

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

SH: I use drawing as my own expression. The work process often starts with me sketching out my feelings. It can be figurative figures or light and darkness on a surface. Uses both sketches, photography and digital tools to create the motif I draw in the end. Photography is a mechanical representation of what the camera manages to draw. The exposure is usually just a starting point, both when I draw and when I make photo prints.

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

SH: My driving force, I think, is to feel existential boundaries and to examine these visually.

TF: What are you currently working on?

SH: "I am nature" is, among other things, a series of drawings in which I explore the gray zone between nature and culture. I exhibited 4 large drawings in the Dairy Culture House at Leknes in Lofoten this year, and will also show drawings from the series in the Alta Art Association next year.

"Gentle touch" is a 10-year project out in nature in the north. The theme here is to investigate and show that we all make tracks in nature and that it is the care for ourselves and nature that makes the tracks small and does little damage to nature and ourselves. This is in collaboration with visual artist Gunn Harbitz. 13 drawings of stone are embossed into white marble slabs with laser print. The boards are 9x9 cm and are mounted on 13 poles (10 cm above the ground), which form points on a path. The path is 2.5 km in open country, and leads to a slate and the copy in solid glass.

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

SH: I always draw on one drawing. The anxiety I feel becomes less as soon as a new drawing is on the way. To draw is to see, and I spend a lot of time looking at the drawing during the process. Think of it as if the drawing is allowed to rest. In this way, the drawing process becomes a kind of journey that is both planned and that takes place along the way. The drawing itself, the hand that makes lines, points, surfaces is often meditative and good, but can also be challenging and nerve-wracking.

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

SH: There are two drawings in the series / project; "I am nature"; "To be all time 1", "To be all time 3" We humans are in the cycle both when we are alive and when we are dead. I try to understand this by visualizing it. Specifically, the drawings show motifs of stones on the ground.


See available drawings by Sigfrid Hernes in our online store .