In the Immediate Vicinity of
© Kuvasto 2016. Photo: © Bank of Finland
Architectural forms and decorative details are the central themes in Mari Rantanen’s (b. 1956) painting, as here in a work that is drawn out in glistening gold. The vertical columns are as slender as those in a gothic church or in the halls of a Moorish palace. Rays of green light cut diagonally by violet on the pillars to meet the densely textured right-hand panel. “I am interested in creating art about culture, objects that have been created by man”, explains Mari Rantanen in her interview with Timo Valjakka.
Mari Rantanen has a systematic approach to her work. When painting a 10 metre serial oeuvre in Stockholm, a real installation piece, the artist took as her starting point the Fibonacci formula. Its principle is calculated on an infinite sequence of any two successive Fibonacci Numbers, thereby creating a series 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. Taking these two successive numbers is very close to the Golden Ratio which artists and architects have used since antique times in establishing the layout of their creations.
Despite applying the formula Rantanen is not absolutely systematic. The work process is affected by change. One of Rantanen’s sources of inspiration has been the architecture of Pompeii, its mosaics and its spaces. In addition to the influence of the forms found in the art of construction the colourful textiles that are produced by America Indians. They are a vibrant reminder of women’s forgotten creative work. Rantanen’s painting often contain a strong feminist message.
American art has had a massive impact on Rantanen, in other ways too. This includes the decorative Pattern Painting movement of the 1980s, has backed her own choice of lines and her vision of how she wishes to separate herself from the parameters of dated modernism. Rantanen’s favoured colour palette is strong and its optical effect of providing movement is sharpened by the geometric forms on layered curtains.