Brita Granström has been living on the Northumberland coast for over 20 years, but regularly spends the summer months at her lakeside studio in her native Sweden. Her expressive paintings reflect these contrasting habitats and, although at times celebratory, often hint at something more mysterious beneath the surface narrative... The painting ‘Behold, This Dreamer!’, with it’s figure lost in reverie, is suffused with metaphors that reference the writings of Walter de la Mare and yet also conjure the poetic spirit of William Blake:
‘To see a world in a grain of sand / And a heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour’
Granström records the world around her rapidly and directly in a language akin to that of Winifred Nicholson with a vitality that echoes nature itself. There’s another inheritance too that is evident in her compositional structures and reckless graphic invention, and that is expressionism: think of Munch and Nolde as well as the Fauves.
Internationally known as an illustrator of children’s books, Granström believes that painting enriches her work and it’s something she couldn’t live without, besides, she’s part of a distinguished line of painter-illustrators such as Heath Robinson, who excelled in both genres. Her unselfconscious delight in the natural world reinforces the humanity with which her work is suffused. It is, one might fairly say, a breath of fresh air.
Exhibitions at Gallagher & Turner:
13 February - 15 April 2016