Frans Widerberg began his career during a time of change, between abstract and figurative art. Widerberg himself has never abandoned a figurative style. He studied at the National Academy of Craft and Art Industry and at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo in the 1950s, and made his debut in 1963. His pictures often feature people, elongated and elegant, whether in nature or floating in the cosmos, painted in bright, vivid primary colours. Art critics have noted the expressive, romantic spirit of his pictures, and not least their atmospheric and almost visionary glow. Some have cited the idiosyncratic romanticism of Lars Hertervig and the symbolism of Edvard Munch as key sources of inspiration.
Widerberg’s brushstrokes are bold and articulate, creating a sense of unrest and vitality in the surface. He has been interested in exploring anatomy and movement, and his figures are depicted in countless postures and from all manner of angles – standing, crawling, lying, wandering, riding, hovering – and in different lighting and weather. It is not only the formal aspects of art that have interested Widerberg. Many of his pictures are endowed with highly specific titles that refer to states of mind, to myths and legends, or to existential questions.
In Aasa, a woman stands alone and leans against a wall, in front of a lighter window opening. Her face is in the shade, and her well-defined body casts a shadow against the background. Her feet are firmly planted on the floor. The wall is mostly in red, something that gives it weight. The figure is depicted in golden hues, while the background features restively shifting fields of colour that flicker in yellow, red, and blue. Aasa is a prime example of Widerberg’s distinctive and highly personal style.
Text: Marianne Yvenes
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0