About Charlotte Bøgh’s paintings.
Many artists work with both an abstract and a figurative expression. In our days, the two are no longer mutually exclusive. There may be times when the close depiction of reality is important, while at other times, it is replaced by a need to express inner sensations that do not readily have any recognizable physical form.
With Charlotte Bøgh, however, it is different. In her art, one senses a clear connection between the non-figurative and the figurative paintings.
As a graphic designer and illustrator, Charlotte has gained a precise and naturalistic line. She is able to create a convincing and spot-on composition. This ability has been applied fully in what has showed to be her key interest: Animal paintings – first the big primates, later the even bigger animals of the savannah, the elephant and the rhino.
With these paintings, Charlotte has taken a step away from naturalism. We can recognize the individual animal, but it is never a photographic depiction. The contour is sketched with a fast and confident stroke, so that the very first application at once creates the long-armed body of the orangutan, or makes the rhino look rhino-like.
However, the surroundings are in no way naturalistic. Details may be implied, but otherwise the painting is filled with colourful surfaces, which, besides outlining the coloration of the place, also take on a compositional value in themselves. The expressive semi-transparent colour haze, which surrounds the motif like a membrane, also indicates the base tone of the painting, its degree of sympathy and identification with the animal. We are left in no doubt of the love that Charlotte feels towards these animals. By replacing the objective depiction with an expressive approach, we receive a more artistic and a more personal interpretation of the motif. This is felt with particular strength in the paintings of primates. Here, we sense the distinctive character of the animal to such a degree that it feels like observing a human being.
Thus, there is no big leap from the paintings of animals to those of torsos and female portraits that Charlotte has always worked with. Often at the borderline of the recognizable, the torso is depicted as a wave of rhythmically flowing energy – in one way elegant and fragile, in another way powerful and hesitant. In the portraits, we also sense an emotional depth in faces that are either lost in inner sentiment or appear seeking in a strange and unforgiving world.
Finally, Charlotte has periodically made landscape paintings. Landscapes without a concrete motif but with that feeling for nature, its rhythm and its soul, that is so abundant in her other work. For these reasons, we cannot speak of a linear development from abstraction towards naturalism, or vice versa. For Charlotte Bøgh, abstraction and figuration go hand in hand.
Text: Tom Jørgensen, art historian – from the book “101 Artist 2010”