The grand rooms of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm are currently hosting a solo exhibition by self-described hunter-gatherer-painter Sara-Vide Ericson. Entitled Interior Ambush and organized by Galleri Magnus Karlsson, the show features a series of large-scale oil paintings on canvas, paper, copper, and marble.

Continuing the body of work presented last year at the V1 Gallery in Copenhagen, Ericson explores our relationships with artifacts, rituals, and places. Based on carefully selected reference photographs taken in untouched nature around her family home, the unorthodox imagery induces a feeling of admiration and respect. Almost primordial in their initial appearance, each image depicts desolate natural landscapes, sometimes interacting with a human character (mostly the artist herself), sometimes obstructed by a household object.


Human interaction with the wild terrain constructs a tense dialogue that suggests our fallible and destructive nature. The image of a pot half-submerged in a stream, or hands carrying a collection of antlers, serve as metaphors for the relationship with nature, but also self-imposed artifacts. This relationship takes an almost performative format in The Vault piece and ultimately The Agitator series, which depicts the subject with a cloth draped over her body while floating on a small boat. These images feel almost primeval while carrying evident contemporary influences.


On a technical level, Ericson works with images in which the play of light and shadow creates strong and rich contrasts, rendered by successfully combining Realism and expression. Different textures, surfaces, and spaces construct a complex setting that feels like a challenge and a duty to recreate in oil. Further exaggerating these contrasts with bold and expressive brushstrokes, the artist creates a cohesive body of work imbued with a mystic atmosphere and consistent color palette.

Whether portraying the back of her wet and shiny head basking in the peculiar Scandinavian sun, a taxidermy cobra facing a crumbling wall, a solitary tree in the forest, or a small detail from her hallway in her home, Ericson constructs an inscrutable atmosphere filled with suggestive items. It's these items; the whip, the pots, household ceramic sculptures, or clothing items, which carry the almost cryptic narrative of this riveting body of work. –Sasha Bogojev