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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Myrna Wøhlk Vilbæk

Name: Myrna Wøhlk Vilbæk
Profession: Visual Artist

Who are you and how would you describe your art?

My name is Myrna Wøhlk Vilbæk, born in Mou in 1939. I am a visual artist living in Aarhus. I have spent most of my time at the Danish folk high school as a co-principal and high school teacher, primarily within drawing, painting and creative processes.

For many years I have worked with oil paint and tempera, but today I work with mixed techniques such as acrylic, dusted colors, ink, watercolor, charcoal and loose pigments on canvas and paper

For many years I have exhibited in galleries and art associations in DK and abroad, but as an 81-year-old it is not the great urge to exhibit that drives the work. On the contrary, it is the ability to daily work and experiment with new expressions and processes. 

The Process

I do not work from a specific inspiration, but I let the colors and materials e.g. paper, floorboard or cardboard paper find and dissolve each other in consistent processes. I choose when the picture is there; it can be fragmentary landscapes or what I can call human landscapes with figurations and persons. I do not want to limit myself or the artistic creation, but almost force a momentum that determines the process and creates the form and expression.

To be a female artist

To paint and to be an artist is self-chosen. Therefore, you must work and develop within the given conditions. I am quite aware that, from an art historical point of view, women are underrepresented within the art institution, an imbalance that we must continue to fight to change. Being a woman born in 1939 means that you have seen and experienced the woman positioning herself within art as well. Women today can more easily choose to concentrate exclusively on their artistic choice and work - today I see a greater freedom and courage to dare to follow their own inner driving force.

Female artist – inspiration

Helene Schjerfbeck (b. 1862-1946) is a female Finnish artist I have always appreciated. I love her personal and artistic intensity, daring and uncompromisingness. Despite the conditions of the time, she managed to choose and preserve the artistic freedom and drive as a woman. She did not allow herself to be limited by time, norms or the artistic style of society. Instead, she unfolded and confronted the identity as an artist on the canvas. Her relentless ability to dare to simplify both motif and color choices preoccupies me. All superfluous and seductive details have been cleaned away and replaced by an almost Nordic melancholic coolness that 'nakedly' and intensely depicts an inner spiritual landscape. 

What would you like people to notice in your work?

I do not want to dictate or guide a particular perception, the viewer's subjective reading and interpretation of my images. Hopefully a communication arises in the meeting which makes way for an experience, feeling, wonder or new thoughts and questions. The work comes to life and significance in that encounter. I want it to be a personal experience. I'm just doing it – regardless!

Each Monday MUNTHE brings a new interview with a female artist. Follow MUNTHE ART MONDAY