I am honoured – I bow my head It gives me particular pleasure to have been asked to open this exhibition. I stand here with my self-confidence boosted. But why? Because I have, in the past, been accused of being old-fashioned and trying to re-create the past. It is true that I am old fashioned and that I try to re-create the past – but I also am a lover of modern art.
I love creativity at any period in time. I am devoted to talent, originality, imagination, inspiration, ingenuity and resourcefulness. I rarely like gimmick – gimmick can be very boring. Olaug’s work may be a lot of things, but it’s certainly not boring neither is it gimmick. Look around you; she seems to be in a hurry. She has so much to say. Her style is developed, her handwriting is recognisable, some of her pictures seem as though they could join up, hold hands and become triptychs or polyptics – maybe they can, others not. Olaug passes the final test. Her work is valid, it works. How do I know?
I have a wonderful picture of Olaug’s – a bustling Paceville where there are cranes, beached boats, parked cars, people, balconies, a bit of sea, fruit and vegetable stalls and whatever. We know these pictures. Now for the challenge – It was like water on a duck’s back – she was as buoyant as ever: I commissioned her to paint some empty rooms – an office that had been and was now empty. No problem! She created, she composed – she used what she could. An electric fan, some cangatura, persiani – her colours became muted as though in tribute to something that had been something – she pulled it off. I love the picture, I shall hang it in my study; I want to look at it every day.
I hope she will paint more portraits – here we have a problem – she is not really a flatterer – so what! If you want a photograph of yourself, then go and have your photograph taken. If you want to sit for a work of art our artist might pull it off.
Olaug was one of us – she was married, lives and teaches here. She was Norwegian and has clearly enjoyed mushing within a clash of cultures. She has contributed, she has received and she has acquired. She was at the peak of her powers with experience and confidence to sustain her.
Her work is in pencil, ink, pastel, watercolour, gouache, acrylic, egg tempera, oils and she also produces dry point and aquatint etchings not to mention her terracotta, ceramics and metal installations. Graduate of the Hamburg College of Design. She has been teaching art and exhibiting her pictures for twenty years. She is a free spirit blessed with oozing talent and a sharp, humble and incisive intellect. Her works are in collections in Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK and the USA, China, and Malta.
Olaug was painting in Merchants Street a few years back, and I was moved by what I saw – these were not the usual fun pictures – there were people I knew – or I thought I knew – the big tummies – the bored children – no bikinis here – a bit of architecture, always the bustle – .”01aug,” I said, “They’re wonderful!” She then said, “I was just.. “85” and never finished the sentence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Olaug Vethal was ‘just creating’- let us admire.
by Nicholas De Piro