• June 7 - July 6
  • Mie Olise Kjærgaard
  • Impatient Rotations
  • Main gallery & project room

Friday June 7th, Hans Alf Gallery invites everyone to join the opening of Mie Olise Kjærgaard's new solo show "Impatient Rotations". The exhibition, which features paintings, large-scale drawings and bronze sculptures, will occupy both the main gallery and the HAG project room.


On the occasion of the new exhibition, fellow HAG artist, Deborah Brown, has written an essay on Mie Olise Kjærgaard's artistic practice:

"Tales of adventure, expedition and derring-do in Western art have traditionally celebrated the exploits and heroism of male protagonists.  Men appeared as warriors, rulers, explorers and gods; women, in contrast, are depicted as hand-maidens, seductresses, damsels in distress and sex objects.  Two thousand years of art history do not change overnight, but the work of Copenhagen-based Mie Olise Kjærgaard is helping to claim the mythology of power for women, giving permission to female and female-identifying artists to write their own stories."

"Kjærgaard has invented a cast of characters and scenarios that startle and delight.  The protagonists are women and they seem to be having the time of their lives.  They ride bareback on huge, pre-historic-looking creatures. They band together to play guitars and other instruments, while piloting Viking boats across the sea.  They dart around the tennis court or ride horses, sometimes accompanied by their children and pet dogs.  On occasion, they appear as solitary figures, larger than life, garbed in pin-striped suits or other eccentric fashions of the artist’s own devising. The effect is mysterious, humorous, adrenaline-inducing.  Who are these women and what are they up to?"

"The subjects of Kjærgaard’s paintings have their counterparts in the long tradition of European art, even as the artist has appropriated its themes for her own subversive purposes. Compare, for example, the proud procession of male warrior figures in the Bayeux Tapestry with Kjærgaard’s frieze of overlapping cantering horses jockeyed by female riders, or the charioteers of the Acropolis with her Viking maidens.  Her subjects resemble a decidedly Northern cast of characters, not unlike the crowd scenes in a Pieter Breughel painting such as “Children’s Games.”  Her paintings function as a kind of reset in which the artist imagines these older works reclaimed by modern-day Amazons who owe no allegiance to the conventional roles they have been assigned in the past.  They are out for themselves, their clan and their children, for freedom and adventure, ready to write a new history—or her-story."


"Like their subjects, Kjærgaard’s paintings arrive like a thundering herd.  The color, scale and brushwork grab our attention.  Kjærgaard has full command of the formal elements in the artist toolbox.  Even before we can decode the subject matter, we are aware of a very specific color palette—pink, turquoise, burnt sienna, yellow, lavender.  The brushy application of paint conveys a feeling of urgency, speed and freedom.  The artist surrounds her female figures with iridescent layers of transparent hues and marks that morph from abstraction to representation.  Skeins of vivid color and a scratchy line create a kind of kinesthesia that provokes our visceral response.  The large-scale canvases are immersive, affording the viewer a ring-side seat for the action that unfolds."
"Kjærgaard’s work has great “inside energy,” a term coined by the painter Alex Katz to describe a painting’s ability to create a ricocheting effect around the canvas, an active surface where the eye traverses the boundaries of the subjects depicted.  The goal is to delight the eye and create a unified whole.  Inside energy is perhaps the crucial ingredient accounting for the success of a work of art.  It is the gateway that engages the viewer and invites further contemplation.  Even if an artist has mastered composition, drawing, color, space and brushwork, it is no guarantee that a painting will “catch fire, come alive,” to quote a contemporary of Katz, Rackstraw Downes."
"Kjærgaard understands this “inside energy.”  It’s what leads her to underpin her subjects with transparent color, sometimes an electric yellow, that flickers at the edges, weaves under and over the imagery and ultimately unifies the disparate elements of the canvas.  Her drawn line, restless and scratchy, also performs this totalizing function.  All the imagery appears to have passed through the invention of her painterly hand, stamping it with her unique personality and handwriting.  There is no road map for this act of imagination.  The successful artist is the inventor of a new world that we have never seen before but which we recognize as familiar. Viewing the work of Mie Olise Kjærgaard, we are eager to join the queue of admirers."
- Deborah Brown
May 2024


"Impatient Rotations" opens June 7 in both the main gallery and the HAG project room, and will be on view through July 6.