Gudbrand Mo

The colorful cavalcade of landscape images shows Gudbrand Mos' artistry and talent. The exhibition is retrospective and covers early works during his studies in Stuttgart and Berlin (1956-1963) and until his death in 1990.


Gudbrand Mo was both a bohemian and a vagabond, but also a local painter of the Eiker landscape's undramatic elements. He lost himself in local Norwegian motifs, but was to a large extent also an international artist, who was educated at German art academies and with many long stays abroad behind him. He was familiar with European art tradition and history and had traveled around the world. Many of his motifs show references to European art history. Together with his German-born wife Barbara Vogler, Gudbrand Mo settled on Nedre Eiker in 1964 and they created a close community around art, artist life and travel.

In Gudbrand Mos' art, it is easy to see changes and testing of new techniques. Nevertheless, it is the common features of his production that dominate in hindsight. For this reason, the exhibition is mounted without a chronological or thematic division of the images. Mo returned several times in his life to motifs he had explored earlier, whether these were post-war bombed-out urban landscapes in Berlin, the fascinating quarries in Les Baux in Provence, or dramatic landscapes under southern Spanish mountains around their favorite city Torredembarra. His trademark was rock and rock formations. It is not always easy to determine the scale in the pictures, whether it is high mountains or small mountain slopes. It is knotty silhouettes and dramatic rock forms, ie the underlying structure of the landscape, that occupied the artist, whether the motif was boulders in Brunlane's or southern Spain's mountain villages.

Gudbrand Mo's artistic starting point was, firstly, landscape drawings which he practiced throughout the 1950s and which are characterized by meticulous reproductions with an infinity of small lines. Secondly, there were the painting techniques he had learned and practiced at the German educational institutions. The approach consisted of a simplification of the motif with juxtaposed color schemes and a preference for motifs such as still lifes, clusters of trees, buildings, city prospects and landscape sections, rendered in sharp silhouette or delineated in slightly deformed perspectives that seem inspired by cubist picture spaces. Cold and warm color scheme balances the compositions. Gudbrand Mo used tempera and strong colors. The motif was first applied to painted surfaces, then the surfaces were activated by a kind of point technique of stains and streaks. The combination of detailed drawing and the temperament medium created a characteristic texture and texture in the images. The process of making the paintings took place at home and was based on drawings and sketches. Using marker drawing and watercolor, the artist achieved effects reminiscent of colored prospects in older art. In the early days, Mo equipped the painting frames with painted patterns, a kind of re-creation of the meaning of the frames in older painting art. After criticism, he switched to simple gilded frames.

In its strong connection to the home on Eiker, GM gradually took on an increasing position as a hometown painter. The spouses' withdrawn position, which was related to their anti-authoritarian attitudes to art life and society, built on an art-historically strong

tradition in Norway as the hometown painter. Mo had historical insight to identify and use tradition in his art. The motifs with cement rings and sand roofs are thus not as neutral as they seem to be. Throughout the 1980s, Gudbrand Mo developed the pastel as his most important medium. Pictures from the home areas show colorful effects of e.g. night skies and sunsets, often made in series. The pastels fit a more summary technique, which Gudbrand Mo now also used in tempera images, which in their way of painting differs from his previously detailed, sharp technique.

Together with Barbara Vogler, Gudbrand Mo has produced quantities of turned and painted wooden objects. This was their joint project where one's efforts can not be separated from the other and which are signed with a joint monogram. It started small with dolls, pranksters and ladies, handy gifts for friends in a strained economy, and soon spectacular chessboards and fantasy cities and church buildings emerged, put together by individual bricks. In a way, these wooden figures continued his imaginatively painted painting frames. These colorful creations do not copy famous buildings or cities, but are inspired by oriental crafts and draw features from historic buildings. Common to the objects is a meticulous and extremely time-consuming detail paint and strong colors covered with glossy varnish. With this "small art" tradition, the spouses moved boundaries in the Norwegian applied art movement of the time.

Einar Sørensen

Chief conservator