Christoffer Egelund Gallery is proud to present "Characterized", Maria Torp’s second solo exhibition in the gallery. The artist shows new paintings, in which different characters are depicted in a playful and experimental realistic manner. Maria Torp masters the superrealistic genre, which has been a continuous feature in her oeuvre. The works in this exhibition, however, reveal her attempt to challenge and loosen up the technical heaviness and control of this genre, by integrating spontaneity and play in both process as well as completed work.
The title "Characterized" emphasizes that the works revolve around personal portraits. The work titles consist of names such as "Agnethe", "Nadja" and "Bettina", which highlights the artist's personal relation to the portrayed characters. A good example is the work "Sebastian" which, with great precision and accuracy, depicts a man with a distinctive tattoo, wearing a white undershirt, blue jeans and red Adidas shoes. He is sitting on a folding chair reading the newspaper. The man is portrayed in a hyper-realistic manner with a tight structure that is being challenged by Maria Torp, when she with furious squiggles overdraws the canvas between the man's head and the newspaper. The sober and registering realism in this picture is obviously dissoluted and subjected to the artist's interpretation by means of the vigorously drawn strokes, that can be read either as a dynamic information flow between newspaper and reader, or as frustration of a man who is absorbed and unable to detach himself from his reading. With such simple narrative techniques, intuition and free play Maria Torp converts the portrayed individuals into characters in a mixture of realism, drawing, abstraction and expressionism.
The paintings in Maria Torp’s exhibition are based on drawings, which she translates to photos, which she translates to painting - a process that both integrates and resolves the weight of the superrealistic style of painting and makes the experimental features more visible. For Maria Torp, drawing is where she lets go of control, parks the mind and lets the ink flow. This results in a large quantity of drawings, that in action, mood or gesture refers to a person's character, story or situation. Subequently, she stages the selected individuals and photographs them, from which she replicates their portraits in her interprative paintings of personal characters.
Maria Torp (b. 1975) lives and works in Copenhagen. She graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007 and has previously studied at the London College of Printing. She has participated in several group exhibitions in Danish art galleries, art museums and art institutions and she has made commissioned work for corporations such as FTK and Tryg. Furthermore Maria Torp is co-founder of the artist trio MAM, together with the artists Anika Lori and Mette Geisler.