Galleri Mynster: Poetic abstraction: expressionist art from a small Danish island
By Lena Hunter | Photos: Lars Aarø
“I’m the red lady,” says Tine Mynster, and flashes a charming, red-lipsticked smile. On the wall behind, in her eponymous studio and art gallery on the small Danish island of Alrø, is a giant crimson painting. “I have a special connection to it. Many people are afraid of red because it’s blood and aggression. But for me, it’s the fire you have inside yourself. Otherwise, you will be grey.” Now, the self-taught painter is inviting visitors to Galleri Mynster, where her entire arresting oeuvre of abstract expressionism is on display and for sale.
“When I was a child, I dreamt in vivid colours and had colourful nightmares. Colours have always been a part of me,” recounts Mynster. “It came very naturally. I didn’t realise until later in life that I saw the world differently to others. For example, if I lost a button, I would go and buy a new one without having the shirt with me,” she says, illustrating an almost synaesthetic perception of colour and emotion. Whether it’s a cause or effect of her work, Mynster deftly uses synaesthesia as an artistic device.
Despite her hypersensitive perception of colour and emotion, visual art has never been Mynster’s primary creative discipline. She’s a singer-songwriter, trained at the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark, and has released an astonishing 12 albums. “I’ve worked with music all my life. I can’t live without it,” she says. “Music led me to painting, in a way. My husband and I live in an old schoolhouse – a huge building. When we were raising our kids, we spent all our money on instruments and music school, and had nothing left to spend on art. I thought: ‘I can do it myself!’, and I started creating these huge abstract paintings for our home.”
An explosion of colour
That was ten years ago. Today, Mynster runs her own gallery and studio of the same large-scale works of joyous expressionism that she filled her own house with, and she has exhibited in New York, as well as all over Denmark. She creates both indoor and outdoor works – acrylic on canvas and metal respectively. “My work has always been about telling stories. Over the years, it has evolved more depth and structure,” she explains.
Her compositions are built with up to 20 layers of high-pigment paint, which gives them their extreme vibrance and bold contrast. But that’s not to say they’re simplistic; what makes Mynster’s work fascinating is the complexity of tone and form in each coloured region. Here, eggshell white is bruised with apricot and dusty blue. Elsewhere, fierce crimson probes the feathered boundaries of a textured black vortex. Nothing bleeds. Every colour holds its own in conversation with its neighbours.
“I’m very proud of this one, Open Your Heart,” says Mynster, gesturing to the large, riotously bright red canvas behind her. “I made it in December 2020 when COVID had shut everything down. 50 of my concerts were cancelled in half an hour. I struggled to pay my bills and people working in arts had limited support. I was so angry, confused and sad. My husband said: ‘don’t say anything – go and paint’. And I painted Open Your Heart to say ‘look around you, stay positive’.”
Inspired by conversation
Many people assume Mynster is inspired by nature, living, as she does, on a picturesque island. “Though I have the sea, sky and nature all around me, conversation is my inspiration. My paintings are stories that connect to emotions,” she says. “I don’t paint figures. I won’t serve anything overt for you. When you look at my paintings, you use your own imagination to see what you see.”
In that sense, each painting is itself a conversation with the viewer, and the notion of connection and personal understanding through art is at the core of all the works at Galleri Mynster. “I went through breast cancer in 2017. If I hadn’t been through that – with the fear and everything else – I wouldn’t be painting as I do today,” says Mynster.
“I was really grey when I was ill. I was the grey lady. I want to share my experience that colour can make a difference. I’m not painting for museums or galleries. I’m painting for normal people like you and me. It fills me up with joy and satisfaction when people come to my gallery and buy an artwork because they see what my colour work can do, and they want to fill their home with warmth, fire and energy. I’m thankful for that.”
Web: www.galleri-mynster.dk Instagram: @tine.mynster.officiel Facebook: tine.mynster Address: Alrøvej 359, 8300 Odder, Denmark Phone: +4525336069 Opening hours Sat, Sun: 13-17 (call to arrange visits outside of opening hours)
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