Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff (1980) uses big expressive strokes in large paintings. The painting called “Skovkalkuner” (meaning “Turkeys”) from 2004 is part of Nuuk Art Museum’s collection. In these big expressive strokes you can almost follow the movements of the artist in the painting.
A turkey, two snow buntings and some apples appears on a blue background of different nuances. These artifacts are drawn with coal and filled out with fat strokes of white, red, yellow and green.
In Canada – where Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff was educated – she saw this specific turkey race one Christmas. The cocks strutted and paraded their plumage as in a show. This fascinated her. The turkey in “Skovkalkuner” was painted from a little figurine which assembled the turkeys seen in Canada. The snow buntings were also painted from figurines but are also a motive MPK has explored since childhood. The apples were on the table – maybe part of some Christmas decoration.
To MPK the painting is an investigation with a starting point. In the painting “Skovkalkuner” the starting point was the turkey, the figurines of the birds and the apples which the painting evolved from. She calls painting a time warp of energy and each work becomes a fingerprint of herself.
MPK uses the birds and the apples to construct the painting, to shape the colours and to direct the brush strokes. The motive – the birds and the apples – is therefore not the essential part of the painting; the essential becomes the expression or the movement and investigation of the colours and the brush strokes.
The painting can be seen in the tradition of the still life – a painting or a picture of arranged artifacts. In Europe the still life has been known since the Antique and was in periods loaded with symbolic meanings referring to the Christian belief, to life and to death. In the beginning of the 20th century arranged artifacts were used to explore the painting as a painting made of colours, plane and motive as with Cézanne or in cubism.
Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff is educated at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Canada and The Cooper Union in New York. As newly educated artist her first solo exhibition were “Tingerlaaq” (meaning First Flight) in 2006 at The National Museum of Greenland. “Skovkalkuner” was part of this exhibition and Svend Junge, the founder of Nuuk Art Museum, bought the painting.
Nuuk Art Museum has in its collection several works of Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff amongst which is a small painting of the concrete apartment blocks in Nuuk from 2008. A painting which plays with the broad brush strokes as in MPK’s larger paintings but also flirts with abstraction as the motive – the concrete blocks almost melts and dissolves with each brush stroke.