Odd Nerdrum, “Paintings”
November 25, 2006 – January 6, 2007
Opening reception:  Saturday, November 25, 7-9pm

8069 Beverly Blvd. (at Crescent Heights Blvd.), Los Angeles, California 90046
Contact: Niccolò Brooker/Marvella Muro
Telephone: (323) 655-1550, Fax: (323) 655-1565
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Web site:

Odd Nerdrum, “Arrest”, oil on canvas, 80 1/4 x 65 1/2 inches.

Los Angeles, California – Forum Gallery presents the exhibition Odd Nerdrum: Paintings from November 25th, 2006, through January 6th, 2007, with an opening reception Saturday evening, November 25th, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The exhibition consists of twelve new paintings which expand upon themes that have long captivated this great contemporary representational painter.
Nerdrum’s work explores basic feelings and needs, eschewing the social for the personal.  His many self-portraits, each very different visually, have in common that the figure is cast against nature and never involved with others.  Since moving beyond his early ‘history’ paintings, the artist has explored this man and nature theme nearly exclusively even in his group scenes, none of which is social or narrative in nature. Subjects such as man’s instinct for preservation through protection, man’s need to explore the limits of his universe and the predetermination of man’s actions have been predominant in all of the artist’s work.
In the painting Arrest a naked couple is at the center of the narrative.  The man and woman are depicted running through a dark, indeterminate space, a cosmic void as black as the night sky with only tiny stars and milky nebulae in the far distance.  A terrified expression on her face, the woman follows the man’s path, clinging to his left arm from behind as they move.  However frantic their pace appears, their direction seems equally aimless.
Odd Nerdrum creates a universe that can exist anywhere and at any time.  By doing so, he can raise innumerable, yet unanswerable questions which endlessly pique the viewer’s curiosity. Certainly, the state of the couple in Arrest reminds us of any number of historical renderings of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  Is, for instance, the cord which the man holds a tool for self-flagellation, or a thread which once bound him to a sturdier course in life?   Do the other four human figures, which float past the couple in a seemingly catatonic state, represent souls arrested in a punitive purgatory or peaceably resigned spirits who have come to terms with their individual limitations?
In other new paintings in the exhibition figures mysteriously drift by, suspended by uneven currents which seemingly carry them nowhere.  In the pitch-black cosmos of the painting Burning a single male figure is visible in the far distance.  His head alight with spreading flames, he is about to extinguish in a nova-like conflagration. Whatever the interpretation of these paintings, they are at the heart of Nerdrum’s undying exploration of man’s condition, not in society, but in the universe.  
Odd Nerdrum was born in 1944 in Norway. He studied traditional classical painting at The Art Academy in Oslo, Norway and later studied with the conceptual artist Joseph Beuys.  Nerdrum developed a style of painting that is unique by any standards. His work is in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway; The New Orleans Museum, New Orleans, LA; The Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Return to Gallery Pages