V1 Gallery presents

Strange Are the Ways of Man

A solo exhibition by Kent Iwemyr


V1 Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Strange Are the Ways of Man by Kent Iwemyr.

Kent Iwemyr crafts poetic, pictorial ballads. Intimate tableaus rendered with raw brushstrokes in acrylic on linen, sparse and open compositions sing songs about his local community in the small post-industrial town of Hallstahammar in rural Sweden, where he was born in 1944 and still lives and works.

Strange Are the Ways of Man is a microcosm where folklore, village talk, dreams and nature converge in imaginative tales. A satirical and humorous stream flows through the idiosyncratic motifs. We observe the everyday banalities of Hallstahammar play out among a motley cast of characters – a local brawler attempts to become a professional boxer, German tourists go moose viewing, teenagers swim and skate on the local lake. However, far from idyllic, Iwemyr’s naïvistic painterly treatment of his subject matter imbues the quaint with the uncanny; small, stick-like figures stare out at us with needle-sharp eyes in front of the stark backdrops of winter forests and humble, almost-empty interiors.

Devoid of sentimentality and always open to the dark undertow of the human condition, Iwemyr’s work contains multitudes. It channels the magic in the mundane, champions the outsider with empathy, and makes space for comedy and tragedy to coexist. The 17 new paintings are existential mirrors that place the viewer in the shotgun seat next to the narrator, in medias res.

Kent Iwemyr was born in 1944, Hallstahammar, Sweden, where he still lives and works. He made his debut with an exhibition at Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Västerås, Sweden in 1992. He was then 48 years old and had mostly been working as an art teacher after his studies at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. He returned to the imagery he had engaged as a teenager and set out to tell the stories of the people close to him. He has since then exhibited regularly in Sweden and internationally. Iwemyr has, among other things, been called ”a strange bird in contemporary art” and ”a Swedish rural Chagall”.

Recent solo exhibitions includes New Masterpieces Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Sweden (2020), Strange Bird, Ebelingmuseet, Sweden (2020), The Red House In The Woods, Anna Zorina Gallery, New York (2018), Not That Dammed Easy!, Galerie Claire Fontaine, Luxembourg (2017), Strange Are the Ways of Man is Iwemyr’s second solo exhibition with V1 Gallery.