Students in field

Maija Miettinen to be featured at Finlandia University Gallery

May 23, 2016

Maija Miettinen Finnish Artist

The Basics

  • Artist: Maija Miettinen
  • Exhibit Title: Rhythm of the Whole
  • Exhibit Dates: June 2 – August 3, 2016
  • Please join us for an opening reception: Thursday, June 2, 2016 – 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m.
  • Learn more about Maija Miettinen at maijamiettinen.com

Maija Miettinen: Rhythm of the Whole will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from June 2 to August 3, 2016.

Maija Miettinen ArtworkAn opening reception at the gallery will take place on Thursday, June 2, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:15. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Maija Miettinen’s large scale abstract paintings, composed of repeating bands of brightly colored optical patterns, present a continuous negotiation and investigation between the binaries of subject versus object, open versus closed and nature versus culture.

Rejecting illusionistic space, Miettinen’s paintings convey the here and now, infinitely renewing that moment of first encounter. While her pattern making references Finnish cultural paradigms, including folk patterns and craft, Miettinen’s paintings find their humanity in the poetry of her mark making.

“Where the configurations start falling apart and the imperfection of the hand become visible, I see vulnerability but also delicate tension and confusion,” said Miettinen.

Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Miettinen has lived in the United Sates for the past 12 years. Her artwork explores the theories of cultural marginalization, liminality and power in the global world, and examines how her work emerges from her immigrant reality yet is not a direct reflection of her biography per se.

“In my personal life I see myself living in a perhaps unusual place where my intimate, internal cultural encounter of the everyday American life and who I experience myself to be is continuously conflicted with, and in opposition to the external assumption to who I am perceived to be,” noted Miettinen in her artist statement. “I find myself often asking from this position, how can I convey what I experience, what kind of forms can I find to communicate these incompatible experiences, but perhaps above all, how can I find justification for painting in this world of seemingly increasing and confusing polarization and conflict?”

Mark Harris, a British artist, writer, and curator, former Coordinator of Critical Studies at the Goldsmith College, London and current professor at the University of Cincinnati wrote about Miettinen’s work for the Ohio State University’s 2015 MFA thesis catalog Phase Shift.

Ballad of the little square

“Miettinen courts the irresistible facticity of textiles, their irrefutable presence, not meaning anything in particular, fabricated, indefinitely replicable, supple, mutable, able to be cut and sewn, worn and washed,” said Harris.

“In her paintings however, Miettinen allows an unsettling exchange between the “given” fabric and uncontrollable paint which drips and smears in places. There’s never any doubt these are paintings, their facture, scale, color are all part of painting’s world. But their determined two-dimensionality, flatness, pattern, silence, reserve, and indifference come from another world that is shared with textile design, printing, and fabrication.”

Miettinen currently lives and works in Columbus, Ohio where she carries on her studio practice and teaches art at the Department of Art at the Ohio State University. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree, with a graduate minor in Comparative Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University in 2015.

“Rhythm of the Whole” will be on display through August 3, 2016.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Photo captions

  • Photo 1: The artist Maija Miettinen
  • Photo 2: Installation of Miettinen’s artwork
  • Photo 3: Recalling, 48″X48″, spray paint and enamel on canvas, 2015
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