Kari-Lise Alexander is fascinated by the landscape and mythology of her Scandinavian roots. We recently featured her ethereal oil and acrylic paintings on our blog, mostly portraits of girls that resemble the nymphs of Nordic folklore. Living and working in Seattle, with its cool and wet winters, also provides Alexander with inspiration, and we often find her subjects bathing in or near water. She portrays mythical swan-maidens in her upcoming solo exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, “A Lovelorn Theft”. According to the mythology, swan-maidens are magical swans that transform into young girls. The key to their transformation is usually a swan skin, or a garment with swan feathers attached. In the place of skin, Alexander drapes her subjects in delicate, twinkling white veils painted in realistic detail. Those without veils are rendered helpless, susceptible to the advances of their human suitors, while the others will never know what it feels like to be loved. As her title suggests, her subjects are the victims of unrequited love, caught between feelings of melancholy and euphoria. And although they live in a surreal and magical world, theirs is a parallel to the sad reality of heartbreak.
“A Lovelorn Theft” by Kari-Lise Alexander will be on view at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, CA from September 12th through October 3rd.