SAMULI HEIMONENNon Plus Ultra
The title of the exhibition - Non Plus Ultra - is a Latin warning that is believed to have been inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules. In Greek mythology the Pillars mark the edge of the then known world, and the phrase can be translated as "nothing further beyond". The Pillars are associated with the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar and the southern one is on the Moroccan side. Viewed from the Mediterranean, the world could end in the strait or a new, unknown world could begin from there. Non Plus Ultra was selected as the theme for two reasons. Firstly, it refers to a mythical era and world view. Secondly, it is an attempt to define the limits of the known world.
My paintings have a mythological touch. I do not paint any specific myths. Instead, I come up with my own ones. What interests me in myths is the way they tell us about things. They are often irrational and take place in a mythical space and time before us. Animal figures are also essential components of this world. They are friends or messengers, gods or judges.
Some kind of a border is an important cross-cutting theme in my work. I often illustrate a border inside people. I am interested in the border between dreams and reality, the known and the unknown. In my paintings that border is defined in everyday situations. It may be about territory, personal space or the border between life and death. I look for situations and scenes where the fantastic peeps out from cracks in our everyday reality.
It is also about distances. Somewhere on the outskirts of the familiar environment there is always the beginning of a new unknown world. I have concretely sought for and illustrated this distance in some of my paintings. This theme has rendered a rather more scenic touch on the paintings than seen in my previous work. My highly Romanticism-focused sources of inspiration in landscape art are also now making an appearance. I suddenly became interested in Hudson River School painters such as Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church. Their take on the landscape inspires thoughts of something divine and grandiose yet being presented with a great deal of subtlety. I also rediscovered my enthusiasm about the amazing theatricality of Ivan Aivazovsky´s seascapes. They appear real without being realistic at all.
My paintings explore the basic questions of existence. What are we dependent on or led by? How close is the border between the lost and the found? At times life is fragile while at other times like a steel wire that will hold anything. You can never tell how life will carry you or what it will be able to sustain. Uncertainty creates a tension and charge that makes everything valuable.
In my life and art I increasingly encounter situations where I have to have faith in something that is out of sight. When moving along I just have the feeling that the goal lies somewhere ahead although it is not actually in sight. So what is it that you actually have faith in then?
Meeting with the artist at Galleria Heino on Sunday 18 November from 13.00 to 15.00. Samuli Heimonen will present his exhibition Non Plus Ultra and discuss his art.
We look forward to seeing you at Galleria Heino!
Visual artist Samuli Heimonen (b. 1975) was Young Artist of the Year in 2008. Originally from Saarijärvi and now living in Kangasniemi, Heimonen is known for his multilayered paintings of animals. Heimonen began his art studies at Orivesi College of Arts in 1994, after which he completed a Master of Arts degree at University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2002. In 2003 he received the Honorary Medal of the Tapper Brothers Art Society.