Henrik Uldalen is a London based artist well known for his emotionally-charged oil paintings of figures, often appearing weightless and diminishing into the background.”My work is based on abstract ideas of existentialism and nihilism, and on loneliness and numbness,” he says. “They’re fairly loose ideas, as they’re a direct translation of my changing emotional states.” We first featured Uldalen on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 24, and here on our blog, where we’ve seen the artist progress from a more realistic, yet ethereal style to experimenting with abstraction.
Painter Henrik Aa. Uldalen brings riveting new portraits to JD Malat Gallery with his new show, “Lethe.” The artist, who crafted the cover for Hi-Fructose Vol. 24, is known for his impasto, highly emotive paintings. “Lethe” opens December 13 and runs through January 11, 2020.
It was just last year that Henrik Aa. Uldalen painted a mural on a massive building for a street art project called Ugangprosjektet in Drammen, Norway. Days ago, the artist posted a photo of the piece being destroyed on Instagram. Several of his followers offered their condolences and outrage in reaction to seeing the elegant, dramatic portrait demolished. Words like “heartache” and “crushing” were used; sad emojis rampant. But here’s the thing: Uldalen not only knew this would happen to his work, he counted on it.
While dreams have served as a source of inspiration for countless artists, Henrik Aa. Uldalen (Hi-Fructose Vol. 24 cover artist) focuses on sleep from another vantage point. His portraits of solitary dreamers are surreal in their own right. Rather than delving into the strange landscapes inside the protagonists’ minds, his paintings show figures in states of slumber floating through space. As the backgrounds become increasingly washed out and paint strokes more muddled, the boundaries between the characters’ inner and outer worlds are diminished. Uldalen is showing with Seamus Conley (whose studio we visited earlier this month) at Thinkspace for their two-person show, “In Limbo,” which opens tomorrow, January 4.
Occasionally we come across an artist who’s paintings are unexpectedly beautiful and haunting, Henrik Uldalen is one of those artists. His work has a common theme of dreaming figures often depicted with their eyes closed, afloat in the atmosphere. Uldaen’s weightless figures seem to be suspended in limbo and float effortlessly off the edges of the canvas into vast white expanses.
On March 23, Corey Helford Gallery and CHG Circa in Los Angeles will debut a group show with a large line-up of artists working with small dimensions. “Art Collector Starter Kit” features 12-by-12 inch paintings by 50 contemporary artists, prominent and emerging. Many among this diverse group have been featured in recent issues of our magazine, including Chloe Early (HF Vol. 26), Sage Vaughn (HF Vol. 26), Sylvia Ji (HF Vol. 16), Henrik Uldalen (HF Vol. 24), Esao Andrews (HF Vol. 22), Michael Page (HF Vol. 22), Natalia Fabia (HF Vol. 22), Luke Chueh (HF Vol. 24), Martin Wittfooth (HF Vol. 19) and many more. The show will offer a sampling of these artists’ distinct styles, served on bite-sized canvases. Take a look at our sneak preview of the show after the jump, images courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery.