The simultaneously warm and cool paintings of Anneli Skaar seem to possess a magnetic North pull. Skaar’s subject matter are like scenes in a snow-globe. Airstreams, swimmers in phosphorescent water, floating boats and blizzards all show up in her pieces. The imagery taps into a universal place – it is evocative of quiet, contemplative times. Solitary but not lonely.Anneli Skaar has been painting for most of her life and has a flourishing career as a graphic designer, but she just recently emerged as a fine artist. She has drawn and painted creations for clients for years; all the while creating a body of personal work. Friends and professional connections began to request her paintings and they became a larger piece of her business. Soon the thirst for the art grew, and a friend, art consultant Heather Hearst, hosted a hugely successful pop up show for her. Carver Hill Gallery discovered her work at the show, and artist and gallery came together to present a brand new body of work in September of 2015.
The Norwegian Arctic North islands’ polar nights were the inspiration for Skaar’s new Civil Twilight series of paintings, and she specifically chose to travel there when the sun is six degrees below the horizon, for a brief presentation of light, before sinking back into darkness. This is Skaar’s favorite time, when the snow is illuminated and the incandescent tungsten yellow appears here and there as a beacon in a frozen land. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers and the islands feature many mountains and fjords. Her paintings are in various shades of the same hue – a cool blue that transports the viewer right into the dimly lit snowfields. Svalbard can be a punishing landscape, but the paintings in this show depict all of this with a twist of romance. Skaar’s polar bears seem approachable and the wildly atmospheric and jagged mountains seem like a perfectly planned back drop. Somehow the darkness feels comforting.
Anneli Skaar has traveled to Norway many times, but this long awaited journey was her first trip to Svalbard. She was born in San Francisco, California in 1969 to Norwegian immigrants and raised fluent in Norwegian. Due to her strong connection to her ancestral home in Scandinavia, she moved to Norway and was accepted to the National Academy of Arts in Oslo where she received her B.A. in graphic design and illustration. During this time she also lived and worked at the Oslo studio of the extraordinarily talented and controversial Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum. This experience left an indelible mark on her perspective as an artist and designer. She later worked in residence at the British School in Rome, Italy, focusing on intaglio printmaking. She now lives in Camden, Maine and continues to grow her career as a fine artist and designer.