Down The Rabbit Hole
BGE Contemporary, Stavanger, Norway, 2023
BGE Contemporary is proud to present «Down the Rabbit Hole», our very first solo exhibition with the exciting Icelandic painter Georg Óskar. Óskar has a distinct style which is prevalent in most of his work. With paintings shaped by a murky palette and unique compositions, the artist creates familiar motifs with an uncanny twist.
Óskar’s work can be seen as a visual diary. His motifs come from observations, from nature and people. Even the seemingly insignificant appears in his work. The motives are reworked into unique compositions, giving the viewer an opportunity to enter the work from multiple viewpoints. The multitude of viewpoints mimic the intricacy of contemporary life. As such, Georg Óskar makes art in which we might recognize ourselves – for better or for worse.
«Down the Rabbit Hole»: The title comes from a phrase that refers to the process of diving deeply into a subject matter. It is often used to describe the phenomenon of «disappearing» into online chat forums. The phrase also refers to «Alice in Wonderland». In the famous story, created by Lewis Carrol, Alice falls down a rabbit hole and into a strange and absurd alternate universe. Óskar also creates alternate universes in his paintings. They might be fictitious, but his universes come from – and describe – very real emotions. Thus, Óskar’s artworks can evoke the effect known as «Uncanny Valley», an emotional response to humanoid objects. The figures we meet in his paintings are familiar, but never quite like we have known them in the past. See the painting «La Campanella», where a distorted version of a beloved Disney character seems to belong in a horror version of its original universe.
The painting «Down the Rabbit Hole», which has given the exhibition its title, might also bring forth the «Uncanny Valley» feeling of uneasiness. The rabbit-like figure in the center of the work has some physical attributes that point toward White Rabbit, the stressed out character which Alice chases through Wonderland. White Rabbit is worried he’ll be late, and worried he will lose his head for it. This is a great example of how Georg Óskar combines real feelings that are symptomatic of
contemporary life with references from literature and pop-culture, set in his own distorted universe.
Georg Óskar makes real human emotion the basis of his work. The vivid imagery and chaotic motions of the brushstrokes can be seen as a reflection of contemporary human life. The uncertain times we are in, shaped by ongoing war, fighting for basic human rights and uncertainty about the future due to the climate crisis, are creating a collective anxiety. It is this feeling of angst that Óskar captures skillfully and emotively in his brilliant paintings.