Marianne Darlen Solhaugstrand

Marianne Darlen Solhaugstrand is known for her large-scale watercolors in which she explores issues of sexuality and gender, which have received critical acclaim: “Perhaps the best argument I know of in terms of why watercolor is the best medium in the world, and some of the most steamingly sexy you may risk upon in the Norwegian contemporary art scene. This strange world that is constantly balancing on a thin line between the familiar and the unknown stems from a deep concentration on the engine in the erotic machinery itself”. (Norwegian Art Critic Tommy Olsson).

She has since 2002 worked on a project called “Inventing Wonderland”, a survey that through themes and materials aims to investigate the possibility of an autonomous woman glance. The focus has been various forms of aesthetic of the male, and through a variety of exhibitions, this study’s play with the stereotypes of both historical and popular culture is aimed to open up for reflection on the notions of gender and interpretation. In the Watercolour series “Intimation of Mortality” the Opheliamyth was processed in large and detailed tableaux with multiple layers. By its reference to mondo macabro movies, and the use of man as the eroticized object, the works theme is about erotification as a power strategy, and the relationship between entity and object. In an earlier production based on St. Anthony, a series of religious motives, was the mythology of suffering set in context with the will to objectification and subordination. Solhaugstrand is consciously working with watercolors, a genre which in our time has references to chiefly popular culture, pulp fiction and low culture, but also violates those expectations both in theme and size. She also represents a challenging direction in watercolor technique in the use of very large formats, and for this she was she was awarded the Nordic Watercolour Companys Grant in 2012.

Born 1975 in Tromsø, Solhaugstrand lives and works in Oslo. She received an MFA from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo in 2004. KORO(Public Art Norway) Project manager from 2011.

She has participated in more than 60 exhibitions all over the world, 15 of which were solo shows, inter alia at The North Norwegian Museum of Fine Arts, The Drawing Biennale in Oslo by the Norwegian Drawing Association, IMAA – New York, Dronninglund Art Center – Denmark, Re Culture II – Patras, Greece. Seoul Art Center – Korea, Taichung Cultural Center – Taiwan. Noo Sphere Gallery – New York, and at the 5th Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece.

Over the past nine years, Solhaugstrand has won 16 artist grants awarded by the Norwegian government, as well as 4 grants from private foundations. Solhaugstrand also served as curator/project manager for the annual art festival Artic Challenge – Site Specific between 2010 and 2012. In 2015 she was the editor of a book about the event, “ARTic – Utfordringer i et utvidet Kulturfelt” published by LOCUS.

Solhaugstrand is a member of the Norwegian Visual Artists, Norwegian Drawing Assosiation, The National Association of Norwegian Painters and The Norwegian YOUNG Artists’ Society. Solhaugstrand is purchased by Public Art Norway (KORO) for Tromsø Youth Centre, Haugesund Gallery of fine Art, North Norwegian Art Museum and the Art Foundation of Sparebank1 Nord Norge.