Soulful Houses from Lofoten on display in the Big Apple

By Berit Hessen
Norwegian American Weekly
"Noraførr" by Gunn Vottestad, Lithography, 59 X 84,5 cm

"Noraførr" by Gunn Vottestad, Lithography, 59 X 84,5 cm

On Jan. 29, Gunn Vottestad opened her solo exhibition at the Trygve Lie Gallery in New York City. The exhibition, called “Houses in the Land of the Northern Light,” contains colorful lithographs and paintings of simple, yet beautiful houses in Lofoten.

Berit Johne, Counselor for Science at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. opened the exhibition by saying: “Gunn’s houses speak of life, a warm haven and a lonely outpost, and of the beauty of nature and the changing light in northern Norway.” Johne pointed out that art and science have something in common. “Beauty, fascination and curiosity drive artists as well as scientists,” the Counselor for Science said.

She spoke of the fascinating light that Gunn has been able to capture; the magnificent aurora borealis.

Gunn, who was born and raised in Myhre, Vesterålen started painting while living in Germany in 1991. “I was bored and lonely at home, while my husband was at work, so I started painting,” chuckles Gunn. The five-year-long stay abroad changed her life. Today, she is a renowned painter. Her celebrated collection, “soulful houses” reflects her deep love and affection for the desolate, yet striking landscape of her birthplace.

"Hus nordpå", by Gunn Vottestad. Serigraphy, 26 X 26,3 cm

"Hus nordpå", by Gunn Vottestad. Serigraphy, 26 X 26,3 cm

Vottestad, who now lives in Oslo, lovingly calls her artwork “husan mine” (my houses).

“Some of the houses that drew my attention, were built and placed in such a way that conveyed a total and hearth-breaking loneliness. However, when the lights were turned on inside the houses, they started to come to life in many different ways. This experience made me start painting these houses the way I see them, all with completely different souls and stories,” said Vottestad.

In 1999 Gunn was awarded 1st prize in the Norwegian painting contest “Kunst for Alle” (Art for All). The jury underlined the fact that the exterior of her houses reflect a state of inner emotions.

Gunn told the Weekly that she was very excited about showing her artwork in New York.

“Although I normally don’t travel with my exhibition, this was an opportunity I could not pass up,” smiled the artist. She has previously exhibited at the Seamen’s Church in Paris (Dronning Sonjas kirke) and Germany, in addition to many solo exhibition all over Norway.

To view Gunn Vottestad’s work visit: For more information see:

This article was originally published in the Norwegian American Weekly on Feb. 13, 2009. For more information and to subscribe, call us at (800) 305-0217 or email

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