Dag Ronny Pettersen
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The way to No Man`s Land

…There is something quiet and magnificant about it. The motives are contemplative and almost meditative. What we see, might as well be inner landscapes and abstract plains, as existing landscapes…It`s all filled with an awaiting presence. Like nature has come to bring us home…

Eirik Svenke Solum,

The magazine Vision, 2019

 

Veien til Ingenmannsland

Exposed

but I was just high enough to be able to see the horizon between the tops of the other trees. I got the sense of just how powerful a landscape can be. And then I understood a thing or two, I believe, about Dag Ronny. Or I at least got a new entrance to view his paintings. Namely, that the viewer should imagine clinging to the very top of a swaying tree. Exposed… You decide to call one of the plains earth, even though you know that it is really a void. The other plain you name sky, though you know that it is actually a dream in front of you. And the line drawn where the two forms push themselves against each other, that line, which you might easily name longing, you decide to simply name horizon. The more you stare at the horizon, the more you feel it is actually staring at you. Observed from a distance, in reality it is you that are far away, merged into the landscape as an insignificant detail in an otherwise even and soft line. It is on this narrow border, between a void that we do not control, and a dream that we do not understand, that we live our lives… You stare at the horizon as if it was life itself in one single line, you stare until it starts to tremble, open up… The horizon becomes a vibrating string, that oblivion strikes again and again with its bow. And the melody that you hear is not an imitation, but an echo. Such is the sound you emit as the landscape throws you back. This is the sound of your own voice. Your own voice screaming…

The Norwegian author Demian Vitanza

Nettavisen Halden24, 2016

(Extract from the opening speech at the exhibition at Rød Manor in Halden 2016)

 

Pictures From No Man’s Land

The Norwegian spirit of nature is in abundance at the Henrik Gerner Gallery in Moss. We are meeting Dag R. Pettersen and his Pictures from No Man’s Land, a powerful landscape, and if we are to believe what the curator Dag Modal says about Pettersen’s subject matter, they belong to the art that he has faithfully produced for the last 15 years. Pettersen’s paintings have been shown at numerous solo and group exhibitions. And he still finds himself in the same landscape. He is unwilling to leave it. You recognize a landscape, says Modal, and points to the title which is repeated in every piece: “Pictures From No Man’s Land”. The defined areas on the canvas, the colours and then, what Modal refers to: the technique. Pettersen does not study the actual subject matter, he studies the painting. He studies every single brush of paint. He is in a long-term process of exploring a theme, says Modal, who argues it is admirable that an artist is so committed to his task and stubborn enough to continue forward …

The Culture Magazine Plnty, 2015

 

Vibrant exhibition at Gerner

The current exhibition at the Henrik Gerner Gallery is entitled “Five artists from Østfold” and is being seen as unusually successful. With a good balance between form and subject, humour and vulnerability, vibrant and more measured colours, between surface and depth, the juxtaposition of Erik Formoe, Karl Orud, Dag R. Pettersen, Petter Hepsø and Tom Bjørnland is one of the most successful I have seen at the gallery during recent times. Abstract and figurative art, photography, digital collage and sculpture are all represented. There is concept art and satire, superficial pattern, and topical art, and in the oppressive parts of the exhibition we find ourselves confronted by existential questions. Bravo!

Arnt Fredheim

Art critic in the Norwegian newspaper Moss Avis, 2012 (six stars)

 

No Man’s Land

I do believe, however, that his artistic project has always been to show us his world the way he does through his paintings with titles such as “Pictures From No Man’s Land”. He has said that he does not copy the landscape that he inhabits but tries to convey an experience. It is a world with a huge expanse of sky and an ever present landscape that he uses constantly. This is his No Man’s Land which represents freedom, hope and possibilities in a world that is threatened in so many ways. As for the rest of us, we experience it through his paintings, and it makes us feel at once both happiness and a nagging sense of unease …

Jens Henrik Stemland

Culture correspondent in the Norwegian newspaper VG, 2010

 

Always alert

… this is where he is constantly searching deeper within himself through his powerful pictures – in the fight for and with nature and a free existence, against all pettiness, greed and lack of consciousness. Always alert in protecting the weak, the environment, forests, the right to roam and freedom. Self-educated, self-motivated in everything. He relentlessly criticises the world, but does not spare himself …

Henrik B. Tschudi, in the journal Flux, 2008

 

The magical light

… When I saw Dag Ronny Pettersen’s paintings I experienced something beyond the visible, perhaps in the past or in the subconscious. A painting that possibly only exists in Scandinavia, with a tradition of focusing on the magical light …

Lars-Olof Pettersson, 2007

Art technician at the Art Academy and the National Museum of Art in Stockholm

 

The pain of middle aged insight

I see before me Dag Ronny Pettersen in Denmark in 2003, a solo exhibition in The Theatre Of Music’s Gallery in Holstebro. A group of large oil paintings named “The reunion” – the powerful experiences of the woman or the feminine in us all. Another group of paintings was named “Pictures From No Man’s Land”, apparently acrylic paintings, which Dag masters so well that their physical surface becomes sparkling. We experience the bright light, the light on the landscape, suddenly bright, then in the next moment it disappears in a fog, the dark figures suddenly become human forms, then part of a landscape, then a hidden city. There is ample space for the experiences of the observer. In the new oil paintings from 2005 we rediscover the title “Pictures From No Man’s Land” from the almost abstract, perhaps bomb-ridden landscape, perhaps itself a part of the bombing and the chaos. Onward to the dream of the human being, where we recreate the community and the society of beauty. In a substantial triptych we stand perhaps behind the world of the poor, which advances towards our rich cities… We find ourselves in the painful clarity of seeing experienced in midlife, with the knowledge of the past and an uncertain future. What the artist may have felt I do not know, but I sense the lonely child, which needs to be taken by the hand, as we play our roles in the community… Two other large triptychs on paper on canvas are figurative and direct, paintings of great beauty, even then the fear of existence and war is engraved, so that it both rocks the mind and evokes memories of The Scream from another Norwegian painter…

Ove Torp, Denmark 2005

Arts critic at artnews Kunstavisen, Herning Folkeblad and the Annual Report of Danish Art

 

Strong landscape

Dag Ronny Pettersen’s landscapes have a force that goes far beyond his figurative paintings. They are also more demanding. That is because of their low-voiced expression combined with figurative points of reference… The result is paintings with big skies and only a few material details in the landscape that supports the skies. At the same time, the paintings are full of abstract details which provide the basis for new experiences over and over again. The abstract landscapes are not as easy to grasp as they may appear at first sight. It is precisely here the fascination lies, within the details that only appear after having spent time studying the painting …

Lars Elton

Art critic in the Norwegian newspaper VG, 2005

 

Sensing something unsettling

This is where Dag Ronny Pettersen has been through a long and in a way lonely process of maturing , the paintings with the title “Pictures From No Man’s Land”, where one sees the great landscape with open plains… The paintings leave you with a sense of something unsettling, something unpredictable. One is captured by the atmosphere and by the artist’s description of the landscape, his power of empathy with nature, his curiousity and not least his humility before its greatness …

Erik Madsen

The Danish newspaper Holstebro-Lokalen 2003

 

The genuine painting

Generally we see too little art from the other Scandinavian countries, thus it is always exciting when there is an opportunity to encounter Scandinavian art. Based on the paintings that I have had the opportunity to see, it will be an interesting encounter. It is a matter of a genuine painting with the combination of landscape and the individual human being. It is not a photographic description but a suggestion. The sky is far above in these landscapes. The colours are varied but subtle. There is a sudden sense of loneliness, perhaps something melancholic in the universe of the painter.

Kristian Jensen

Art critic in the artnews Kunstavisen, Denmark 2001

 

What do your eyes see?

We are right in the middle of Dag Ronny Pettersen’s paintings, in an environment where the sky is high enough to give room for thought. Fragile humans in loneliness or in community? In happiness, in veritable eternity…? What do your eyes see, from which journey have you returned…?

Thomas Hägg

The Swedish newspaper Göteborgsposten 2000

 

The careful light

Norwegian Dag Ronny Pettersen, has captured the careful light of the Norwegian landscape… He is an artist that we hope to see more of in Denmark…

Poul E. Madsen

The Danish newspaper Dagbladet 1999