Cecilia Hillström Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition with Leif Engström (b. 1992), En kvällspromenad.
Engström’s poetic paintings of suburban landscapes and dense forests hold a mysterious quality. The works convey a sense of both melancholy and wonder, where the rendering of light and nature plays an important part. In close dialogue with art history, Engström is an urban explorer – a contemporary version of the Impressionist flâneur, taking inspiration from his everyday life and surroundings. A tension is created in the contrast between civilization and vegetation in his work.
The exhibition title En kvällspromenad (an evening walk) is borrowed from a folk pop song by Anders Dahl from 1974 with the same title. The melody echoes of the Swedish song tradition of dance band and folk music, and resonates with the surroundings and buildings depicted in Engström’s imagery. In his work, there is a strong association with the era of the 60s and the decades that follow. However, through the painter’s gaze we experience his contemporary outlook: weed spurting out of the pavement next to the plastic chairs on the patio; a building fence outlines the evening view over a city; a concrete overpass in the setting sun. Capturing the transience of light, as the day ends or a new begins, there is a presence of tenderness and melancholy in the fleetingness.
In two of the larger works in the exhibition, a band of ornament is surrounding the motifs, giving them an almost mythological character. The contrast of the realistic views and the abstract decor puts the motif in a new light. By balancing nature against urban environments in his work, Engström makes us look at our surroundings from new perspectives.
Leif Engström (b 1992 in Brunskog) holds an MFA and BFA from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. Engström has exhibited at Bonniers Konsthall, Sandgrund, Karlstad, Arvika Konsthall, Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, and Konstfrämjandet Bergslagen, Örebro. He is represented in the collections of Stockholm Konst, Region Värmland, SAK, Arvika Muncipality and Örebro Muncipality. During the Spring of 2021, Leif Engström has a comprehensive solo exhibition at Rackstadmuseet in Arvika which runs to 23 May.