Frank Brunner viser havet framfor det urbane i Galleri EKG

Frank Brunner shows the sea rather than the urban in Galleri EKG

Frank Brunner had never thought that he would work with motifs from his home district in Høvåg, but this is how it turned out. Inspired by his birthplace Høvåg, he tells the changing stories of the sea in his pictures.

Text for Galleri EKG: May-Britt Bjørlo Henriksen

- You never know where the inspiration comes from, this time I was taken by the coastal landscape and the sea, says Frank Brunner. He currently lives in Oslo, but has relatively recently built a studio in Høvåg, the place where he grew up.

He is currently having a solo exhibition in Galleri EKG at Stortorget in Hamar, which surprises both in terms of motifs and method, but which continues the distinctiveness of both his paintings and etchings.

- We have worked together for a long time, gallerist Pirjo B. Mursu and I, and it works well, says Brunner. He has previously, in 2014, been a festival exhibitor during the Festivals in Elverum, when the gallery was located in Elverum, and a few years ago had a solo exhibition in Hamar, where globes and modern cityscapes and varying lights were the main focus.

Brunner is known for his figurative depictions of moments. In his new pictures, he contrasts the movements of the sometimes dark sea with the light. Whether it's the ripples of the waves or an illuminated horizon in the distance. He achieves a fine painterly effect with his simple, but balanced and exquisite coloring.

New techniques

After working with oil paint in large formats in decorative commissions he has recently completed, Brunner has focused on combining oil paint and etching on paper.

- I have started with paper works where I have taken the etchings as a starting point, and am now working on that. In the exhibition in Galleri EKG, oil paint on etching will be the main focus, together with my latest etchings, he says.

This time there will be a lot of medium formats, and not the largest paintings that we have previously seen from his hand at the gallerist in Hamar. Brunner says that he has collected pictures from various series to show them in Hamar in the period 4 February-5 March 2023.

- Since the last time there has been a lot of new things. In the past I have visited reflections in water, or more abstract waterfalls, globes or light variations in urban spaces. At the same time, I see that I have always worked with sea and water as themes. Either reflections, or more abstract. Now I try to deal with the coast and clean sea pictures, says Brunner.


He himself seems a little surprised at the motifs he has landed on, and he is aware that there is a long history of painters before him who have explored the sea and the coast in the best possible way, such as Amaldus Clarín Nielsen from Mandal, who in the 1800s and 1900s century immortalized the sea and the ship.

- I thought that I would never work with motifs from where I come from. I have made a lot of nightscapes and panoramic paintings. Now I went on with the motifs where the sea was a small element. I come from Høvåg. A small place on the southern coast, with lots of people and life in the summer, but very quiet when the tourists disappear. Now I mostly see the coastal route, he says.

Brunner says that in the way he works with these images, he goes back a little to how he worked when he was in his twenties.

- Why do things come like they do? You start something, and see that it is a piece of the world. An expression. That you can tell some things with it. Many years ago I worked very photorealistically with things, says Brunner.

- When you work with the sea, the sea's special pattern is more precise. It is very challenging to work with the sea, he says.

It is perhaps in this particular pattern of the ocean's movements that the challenge lies for Brunner. Which makes it exciting to work with what a few years ago was unthinkable for the Sørland artist, who we see masters both breaking sea and ocean swells.

Brunner is educated at the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo and with advanced studies in model drawing at the Ilya Repin Academy in St. Petersburg. After the academy, he took a Master's at Yale, just outside New York. He lived in New York for 13 years before returning to Norway ten years ago. In 2014, he was a festival exhibitor in Galleri EKG (Elverum Art Gallery). He has previously had a solo exhibition in Galleri EKG in Hamar.

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