Marja-Leena Rathje
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Nature Art

The work of Finnish visual artist Anni Rapinoja was recently brought to my attention by Irma H. of Finland, who initiated an interesting correspondence since finding my blog. Rapinoja uses collected plant materials to create her unusual sculptures and earth installations. On her site it says: "Nature has always been an important factor in Anni Rapinoja's work. Natural materials are her raw materials and workmates. Earlier her work lingered relieflike, on walls. But as the artist, who originaily is a trained biologist, became more aware of environmental values and started actively to protect the nature of her home island, her work, too, started to changed shape and spread also to walls and ceiling, out of the gallery and in to the nature."

Seeing her work reminded me of another nature or environmental artist whose work I have long admired, Lyndal Osborne of Canada. Osborne states on her website: "I feel like an archeologist seeking and retrieving discarded fragments of the urban environment and the dried out remains of natures' seasons. All have gone through their prime of life and now remain as relics of past glories. The objects are then recreated by me as a direct response to my encounters in nature in the role of observer and participant. I am expressing in my work images which are about timelessness and regeneration. In one sense it is a form of purification, but it is also a way to understand death and to celebrate life through our need to define and humanise our existence on this planet." Do have a look at the beautiful and moving installation works she has created and the wonderful stories behind them!

I really wanted to share this with readers because both artists' works have some resonances with my own work and thinking, though of course they are a very different medium from my prints.

Addendum: This is very interesting: read the comments below, then have a look at the work of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. I could not find the older fibre-based works that I loved so much, except for 80 Backs, lower down the page consisting of a good review, some journal entries and a few more photos of her work.

Addendum June 13.04: Just saw this review of Osborne's latest work in Canadian Art magazine.

Marja-Leena | 13/05/2004 | 2 comments
themes: Other artists


Thanks so much for these links! I was delighted to see both artists' works, especially Osbourne's, whose work really resonated with me - it's very strong, like Abakanowitz's early forms - but totally original and encourages the viewer to look closer and make connections for herself.

Have you seen Abakanowicz's work?! I've only seen it in books and magazines. I fell in love with her wrapped figures during a time when I was doing veiled and wrapped figures in a series called "Veils Suite" (someday I will put them on my site, as I work my way backwards). I'm glad you mentioned her, will have to look her up in Google.

By the way, hope you and your husband are feeling better!