Oskar Nilsson

October 18 - November 23, 2014
Opening Reception, October 18th, 6-9pm

INTERSTATE is very pleased to present Oskar Nilsson’s first solo exhibition in New York City, Rehearsal. This exhibition will present Nilsson’s distinct oil paintings and etchings that mixes macabre, pop, cartoon and twisted fetish to create lush, thick and addictive scenes and textures.

One of Nilsson’s influences is the psychologist and writer Bruno Bettelheim and his ideas on the darkness in fairy tales. Bettelheim believes that society needs darkness in order to function properly. Throughout these new works, this darkness is constant and at the moment before climax or calamity. There is a tension and a thirsty indulgence in horror, which is masquerading in the guise of cartoons, duckies, dolls and other usually harmless and inanimate playthings.

Within and supplementing darker works are moments of whimsy, and delicate lightness that counteract and complicate narratives. The use of color and childhood characters disrupts obvious interpretations and injects humour with absurdity. Nilsson wants to break down the reductive duality of good versus evil, of beautiful versus grotesque.

All of these works reflect a larger concern for Nilsson and that is getting to the core of human nature and to the basics of what it means to be human. An example of this can be seen in his painting, Old Man Beats New, where a man in a top hat and long coat is beating a tree with modern sneakers hanging from the branches. Long ago it may have been a goat hanging and being sacrificed to some god, but now that is forbidden in our civilized society, so instead he whips a pair of sneakers bloody.

Humans still have a need for rituals but have forgotten the necessity of them through modernization and the commodification of these practices. Nilsson’s paintings and etchings reflect the trauma, confusion, perversion and estrangement we have with rituals while also showing how familiar, constant and impulsive that drive is.

Oskar Nilsson, b. 1976 in Ulricehamn, Sweden. Lives and work in Gothenburg, Sweden. Recent solo exhibitions include; Gallery Thomassen, Gothenburg, Gallery Steinsland Berliner, Stockholm, Konstnärshuset, Stockholm. He has been in numerous group exhibitions including; Borås Konstmuseum, Galleri S7, Stockholm, Sebastian Guinness gallery, Dublin, Gemeentemuseum, Hague, and De Praktijk, Amsterdam.

Press for exhibition: ARTNews