Ingolv Helland is a Norwegian artist whose principle medium is paint, but who is also an accomplished photographer and light installation artist. He was born in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1974. He first rose to prominence when he was selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2007. Helland submitted a self-portrait and was one of only 60 artists in the final selection - 1870 entries were received - and his work was chosen to illustrate both the exhibition's poster and catalogue cover. Hellend was rare amongst exhibitors that year in that he escaped the scorn of Brian Sewell in a particularly vitriolic review of the competition for the London Evening Standard.
Waterhouse & Dodd
first encountered Helland's work at his degree show for his MA course at Camberwell in 2010. Despite a studio fire destroying much of the work he was planning to submit, enough was reclaimed orreworked to provide a very impressive display. One of the works in that show was the Shadow Box - the light installation work that provided the source material for this series of paintings. The Shadow Box is a light box consisting of a series of chambers with high gloss white walls and a highly reflective black Perspex base. The viewer is able to look into these chambers through 3 portals, and within the rooms (but concealed from outside view) are inset a series of red, green and blue LED's. The viewer can manipulate these colour combinations using a control panel in order to regulate the quality of light throughout the chambers. In doing so the viewer may examine the phenomenological relationship between Light, Space and Time.
This series of paintings, whilst first appearing to be wholly abstract, are actually more akin to interior views. A highly accomplished painter in oils, Helland uses traditional painting techniques such as the application of thin oil glazes to build up his compositions. This results in the finished works having a surprising luminance and delicacy of colour, which matches the subtle gradations found in the Shadow Box. The paintings are complex and beautiful, and defy categorisation or association with any particular art trend or style.
The gallery's exhibition is the first full solo show of Hellands work, although the artist has exhibited widely in Europe, particularly in Norway, Berlin and London.