A unique visual narrative by Kirsten-Marie Hedeland

January, 2016

Artist Christel Maria Nolle works with various modes of expression. She is, by nature, extremely aware of and observant when it comes to her surroundings, absorbing every detail and impression. And it is because of this that she feels a need to share her experiences through multiple expressions, to achieve as much subtle variation as possible.

In her works on paper, we get a sense of freedom and an artist on a loose leash. This is her intuitive space where she can play and disconnect her mind, as it were, and, unhindered, work her way forward with the various elements – the familiar telephone drawings, patterns, lines, quadrilaterals, colour fields, clippings from newspapers and magazines – stopping when her gut feeling tells her she has found the right expression.

Not so with her paintings, where she adopts a more structured approach, working towards a conscious goal. Here, the pictorial expression is vivid, telling a story. Christel Maria is passionate about her art, and her commitment and enthusiasm shine through her works. Surrounding herself with her ethnographic collection of African masks, sculptures, embroidery, glass and ceramics is an important part of the creative process for her. Warm details – and ideally plenty of them – provide energy and inspiration for her works. Her pictorial universe can be perceived almost as woven colour surfaces with sculptural forms as the structural elements. Christel Maria has a wonderful sense of colour and the way colours react when put together and compared with each other. She knows how they will interact and how this union will pan out. The colours are applied, drawn up, rubbed out and confidently worked into the painting. The pictures are round and detailed, but without being overcrowded.

She gives the beholder space with the addition of small neutral fields, where you have time for a breather before continuing on your journey through the painting.

Captivating fragments and contours emerge from the surface, and you half expect the individual fragments to open up. Some of the fields of colour are open, appearing quite insistent at times – “look at me, look at me” – without tipping the balance of the painting. They are pulled back by the other elements and everything melts together into a harmonious whole. There is a fantastic balance in Christel Maria’s works and no single element leaps out at you from the whole. It is not a solid surface you experience, but an openness and a responsiveness that let you into the painting, and her motif universe is not experienced all at once. The eye treks across the surface, taking in new experiences all the way around. 

In recent years, Christel Maria become fascinated with working in bronze. This classic sculpture tradition enables her to find a fine balance between the properties of the material and its nature in order to express her artistic ideas in a way quite unlike her painting. Her bronze sculptures beautifully underline and complement her works. Inspired, among other things, by rugged rock formations, marble sculptures, ceramic vases and African art, she creates her beautiful sculptures. The “gold nuggets” are asking to be touched. They are full of drama and appear enormously powerful, and yet retain a real elegance about them. This is fine design in all its simplicity. Christel Maria Nolle performs like a horse in sawdust in all her artistic expressions. She is accustomed to the stage and supremely confident. There is no doubt that she is in control of what she does and where she is heading.

© By Kirsten-Marie Hedeland, host of the Danish TV show “Kunst for Tiden” (Art of our times) and writer for the art journal “Kunstavisen”, January 2016

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