Erik Nieminen

My works present an independent reality, a world that is dependent on our real world yet is separate from it. I seek to deconstruct the reality that we inhabit in order to remake reality according to the logic inherent in the painting process. I am mainly interested in the dissolution of space, perspective, light, and time through varying degrees of figuration where form is created through a responsive and adaptive process over a length of time. Colors and shapes are reworked until an ideal solution is found. Thus, the process itself mirrors the way time works – gradually shifting reality until what is familiar evolves into something renewed.  

Starting essentially as undefined shapes, lines, and colours that collide with one another, my works gradually form into a semi-coherent yet unreal visual concept. The drawn lines and geometric shapes are gradually overwritten by structures that correspond to our notion of reality (a tree might replace a line, a person may replace another shape, for example), and are selectively taken from the vast quantities of video and photo documentation that I produce. Figurative elements thereby work as alibis for ideas about visual space. Light is used in almost every aspect of my work and it informs and shapes and the architecture of each painting. Experiments playing with reflected and projected light serve as part of my aesthetic underpinning. Eventually all these foundations go on to create a painted reality, one based on our own but that exists on its own terms. 

Until the last few years, the majority of my work centered itself in the depiction of urban space. Currently, I have expanded this to include artificial organic habitats, such as zoos, botanical gardens, and biospheres. While the work does not engage with issues such as climate change as a form of messaging, I am interested in the cultural and societal impact of these spaces along with the idea that man can control nature as such. Architecture and nature confront each other and co-exist in the spaces created within my paintings.  

My role in the creation of these works is actually relatively unimportant. I listen to the needs of the work and the work is in control. What I do therefore is to orchestrate possibilities - I make no defined statement and allow my paintings to open themselves to the viewer without expectation.