Watercolors by Larissa Stenlander are charming and quirky works that reflect everyday human emotions. Loneliness and craving for love, social vulnerability and joy of belonging, independence and discrete cries for help – the situations and states that Stenlander’s characters find themselves in create instant recognition and emotional resonance in the viewer.
The stylized world of Stenlander’s art is quintessentially female and revolves around the artist’s alter ego: a sympathetic and a little plump middle-aged woman who is thinking about herself and life in general. Sometimes the woman is alone, sometimes she interacts with her friends, or, rather, with her own doubles. The scenes usually are humoristic, although there is an aura of melancholy over most of Stenlander’s art. The melancholy seems to be rooted in the sad premise that life is a constant struggle with the self and the world.
The emotional content of Stenlander’s drawings is enhanced by the pure, finely chiseled and minimalist imagery
Stenlander uses symbolism in the same way as the 1600s Dutch masters did in their Vanitas. Every single detail carries a certain meaning; books, bottles, ladders – all the details present in the works are necessary and are placed there for a reason.
Humorous and melancholic at the same time, Stenlander’s stripped mis-en-scenes account for an independent vision and for the artist’s very own development of a traditional genre painting.
Natalia Goldin Lundh