Maija Miettinen is a visual artist born and raised in Finland but has lived and worked in the US for most of her adult life. She started her art and design education in the UK at the Norwich University of the Arts. In 2008 she earned Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. In 2015 she graduated from Ohio State University with Master of Fine Art degree in painting and graduate minor in comparative cultural studies. Her work has been exhibited in Finland and in the UK as well as around the US, most recently at James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia, at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg PA and the Urban Arts Space in Columbus OH. Some of her writings examining contemporary abstract painting has been published by Brooklyn Rail and by Ohio State University. She has been awarded numerous grants and awards such as Alec Abels Memorial Award in Painting, Temple University, University Fellowship, Ohio State University and Greater Columbus Arts Council artist grant. She has also been nominated for prestigious art awards such as Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship and Dedalus Foundation Fellowship.
A lot of my work draws inspiration from traditional Finno-Ugric folk art and patters. In recent years I’ve been very interested in contemporary Australian aboriginal painting and ancient cave paintings. I am fascinated by the usage of pattern in human culture. I ask myself why all cultures utilize patterns to decorate and therefore elevate mundane objects and things; even bodies, beyond their utilitarian value? I’m also interested in how some art seem to transcend time and space and I keep asking how can it be?
When I start a new painting, I have thought it through from the beginning to the end. I don’t ever fix or edit anything in my paintings. If there’s a drip, I will let it be. If I mess up a shape, I will allow it to be. I permit the layers form themselves based on how my hand produces them. I use abstract, simple shapes such as circles, squares and lines in different configurations while I paint them free hand and without any templates or aids.The placement of each individual shape is a response to the one before and the one that comes after. I try to make each shape and layer as “perfect” as possible, but at the same time I allow the imperfections of my hand to show. Each color of each layer, is also an attempt to respond to the one before and the one that follows. I use colors that I find in my immediate environment such as street signs and advertisements. The aim in my color selection is to produce a maximum amount of visual tension between each color layer while also produce an undulating whole. I find that my emotional state affects all that I put on the surface; essentially each painting records the moment of its creation. I’m interested in this notion that everything in my work is connected to the time and place it is created in, and therefore to me; the individual. At the same time it is void of me and exists in the time and space beyond its creation because it is made out of the most simple forms and shapes that don’t convey any narrative or any specific meaning.
© 2022- Maija Miettinen