Elisabeth Handelsby (b.1982) grew up on an island on the southeast coast of Norway. The closeness to nature and the ocean which she grew up with is something that is still reflected in her work.
She is a graduate from the Norwegian School of Creative Studies, and Oslo and Akershus University College.
Her main medium of expression is painting, and her work has been shown in several group and solo exhibitions.
She currently lives and works in Oslo.
I work with figurative paintings, where I seek to combine figurative realism with painterly expressionism. I use photographs as a reference for the paintings, both pictures I take myself and found material. During the painting process, I relate freely to the photo-reference and do not work towards a set idea of how the finished result will be, but more of a feeling I seek to convey. It is an intuitive process in which the painting is often brought through different color phases and is built up and broken down several times. All of these layers that are painted on top of each other are important to create life for the finished result.
Contrasts in both motif and color are important to me, and I often try to make the images balance between the beautiful and the unpleasant, between calm and turmoil.
The motifs circle around topics such as the human situation and our relationship with the world around us. Our relationship with nature has become a common thread in recent years.
I see my work as small glimpses of stories, where the viewer can form their own whole.
How does the theme ‘Biosphere’ play a role in your work?
Growing up on an island on the south east coast of Norway, where I needed to take a boat to go to school, and walk a couple of kilometers through the forest to go see my friend, I have always had a close relationship with nature.
As an adult this has resulted in my choice to lead a vegan lifestyle and in an engagement in climate change and environmental matters.
This is something that through the years have become a bigger and bigger part of my art as well.
Our relationship with nature and all the living things in it are one of great contrast and contradiction. We post beautiful pictures of nature on social media after going for a hike, but then we leave our trash behind when we leave. We decorate our home with tropical plants, but sit silent when the rainforests of the world are burning.
How we connect with and relate to nature and other non human beings in the world is something that I wish to explore in my paintings.