Portal into the oblivious

The piece “Impressions / Autumn” by Tove S. Hellerud evokes the colors of autumn trees in upstate New York, according to author Thor A. Larsen. Photo courtesy Thor A. Larsen

Tove S. Hellerud’s exhibit “Synesthesia” at the Trygve Lie Gallery in New York City

By Thor A. Larsen

At the Trygve Lie Gallery in the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New York City, art enthusiasts can enjoy a very special, innovative exhibit by artist Tove S. Hellerud, entitled “Synesthesia” until May 25.

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. This explanation of the art exhibit’s title serves well to introduce Hellerud’s painting style known as “abstract expressionism.” In laymen’s terms, the intent of the artist is to stimulate feelings and imagination when viewing their art.

A part-time artist and lover of realistic and impressionistic art, abstract expressionistic art is new to me from appreciation point of view, although the movement started in New York City shortly after World War II. Artists who helped define this movement included Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollack.

My net is that Tove S. Hellerud has been very effective in stimulating my imagination and feelings viewing her art, especially in the essential privacy of the Trygve Lie’s Gallery.  The gallery has 22 works located on the four walls of the gallery, nicely spaced to insure the ability of the viewer to focus on one piece of art a time. Unlike many galleries in New York, it is very seldom you can spend significant time on your own, with no guards or hosts nearby, and taking as much time as you wish to focus and fully enjoy the works.

The works include seven works in mixed media and 15 works in oil. The mixed media paintings do offer more details and are more subtle, whereas the oil works, with large strokes of thick paint provide stronger expressions. All use subdued colors such as blue, white, rust, deep yellow and deep gray green. The shapes included in the oil works dramatize the artist’s skills in fabric designs as some of the works stimulate you to think of fabrics. One of my favorite of the exhibit was “Impressions / Autumn” with its beiges, subtle yellows, light yellow-greens and orange that made me think of the beautiful trees upstate N.Y. in their autumn colors, as well as some of the subtle colors of fabrics in our home.

“Let’s Get Lost,” a mixed media work that conveys an image looking out a window to a backyard, and, in the distance, the ocean. Perhaps we see some pets in the back yard playing, and in the distance, perhaps a large fish or whale breaking the surface, scaring away some seagulls (which is strictly my interpretation!).

The other special treat at the Seamen’s Church for art lovers, is that one can then go back upstairs to the main level and enjoy some coffee and waffles before, after, or in between viewing the fine works of art.

“Synesthesia” is on view through May 25 at the Trygve Lie Gallery, located at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church on 52nd Avenue in Manhattan, between 1st and 2nd Avenues. For details, visit www.sjomannskirken.no/exhibitions/2012/synesthesia or call (212) 319-0370.

This article originally appeared in the May 4, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.