Over the course of an almost 20-year career, the Norwegian painter, sculptor, and graphic artist Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen has explored artistic expression in a myriad of ways. In recent years, the versatile artist has developed her own technique: the relief painting.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen is a multi-faceted and prolific visual artist. From her studio in Høvik located just outside Oslo, the artist produces a variety of semi-abstract artworks, with a focus on painting on canvas and wood, sculpting in wood, bronze and marble as well as working with textiles and graphics.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen – an artistic exploration of human existence

Painter, sculptor, and graphic artist Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen.

The personal connection between artist and artwork

Mia is deeply committed to her craft, often spending two years producing artwork within a certain theme before it is ready to be presented to the public. “The process of creating is of the utmost importance to me. It’s constantly developing, it’s where I find my drive,” Mia says. “I experience it in different ways at different times. It can range from intense, emotional, powerful and brutal to a kind of yogic state where hours pass by unnoticed – a meditative process with a lot of intuitive work.”

In 2022, Mia held a large exhibition at the well-loved art gallery KHÅK Kunsthall in Ålesund, displaying over 60 new works that she had developed over the course of 2 years. Before that, she exhibited her work at the popular gallery Soli Brug in Sarpsborg in 2020.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen – an artistic exploration of human existence

Photo: NorwaysBest

As a well-known figure in the Norwegian art world, there is plenty of public interest in Mia’s work and its underlying ideology. In 2020, the art critic Lars Elton wrote a book on Mia’s life and artistic output over the course of her career. Presenting a wide range of artwork in retrospective alongside some of her new pieces in the new hybrid technique of relief painting, the book offers a comprehensive insight into the artist and the notion of ‘indefinable existence’ that underpins her work.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen – an artistic exploration of human existence

Photo: Press Forlag

Her artwork is simultaneously personal and taps into universal experiences of the human condition – an attempt to capture a fleeting moment in time before it slips away forever. “I work with organic natural materials that mirror our existence, growth and life,” Mia says. “These are the traces we leave behind, relationships and interactions that I incorporate into the works, in the borderland between figuration and abstraction.”

The interaction between an artist and the material they’re working with is important to Mia. “My physical effort in scratching into the wood creates a direct connection between the material and myself. It feels like my nerve fibres become part of the woodwork when I carve with this intuitive approach,” she says.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen – an artistic exploration of human existence

Left: Udefinert Eksistens, relief painting on wood, 70 x 100 cm. Right: Open heart, relief painting on wood, 100 x 150 cm.

A distinctive new technique

Over the last few years, Mia has engrossed herself in the practice of relief painting – a distinctive, self-developed technique whereby working on and in the plate provides a three-dimensional expression.

Working with organic materials is key to her unique process of creating art. “Wood is a lovely living material with its own structure and varied surface. The organic materials leave their mark on the artwork, and working with this makes it easy to make the important connection between myself as an artist and the material,” she says.

A creative and explorative artist, Mia employs a varied use of colour ranging from muted earth tones to vivid, rich and expressive shades. “I draw inspiration from my senses – everything I see, perceive, hear, experience, my soul…everything is processed internally and gives me the power to create,” Mia says. She often works with a piece over a long period of time, embedding layer upon layer of meaning onto the artwork.

Mia is an engaged and passionate artist with a keen interest in taking part in the international arts scene. Having studied art in San Francisco, Mia has also made a name for herself abroad. In fact, in 2018 the artist was awarded a summer residency at the Mana Contemporary art centre in New York. In 2021, she took part in ARTDOM, a creative collaboration between female artists in Norway and Pakistan. The innovative large-scale international art project was centred on the theme of feminism and women’s rights, with a focus on cross-culture partnerships.

Mia is currently exhibiting her work at the historical Fretheim Hotel in Flåm on the west coast of Norway. Her next exhibition will be a large separate exhibition at the contemporary art gallery Gulden Kunstverk, located south of Oslo.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen – an artistic exploration of human existence

Journey, relief painting on wood, 50 x 60 cm.

Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen holds a Master’s degree from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and has also studied at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her work is represented in multiple galleries in Norway, and she has held exhibitions in Copenhagen, London, New York, Miami and LA.

Web: www.artmia.no
Instagram: @artmiaofficial
Facebook: mia.helgesen


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