Elena Øhlander: Identity and Breaking Down Stereotypes

Elena Ohlander is a nationally-exhibited visual artist located in Jacksonville, Florida. She describes her art’s focus on the “subtleties of the human condition and conceptually explores identity, individuality and gender issues through creative and visual narrative.” Using narrative, the psychology of color, and a stylistic characterization of herself, she creates her own visual language. Through her diverse portfolio, the consistent use of these representations of herself begin to explore themes of identity and individuality.

Her work offers references to her own Eurasian-American identity in contemporary contexts and modern mediums of illustration and mixed-media. She works in watercolor and archival ink, acrylic and archival ink and experiments with bristol, birchwood or canvas. This experimentation in material paired with references to traditional patterns and imagery contribute to her reflection on identity.

Her portfolio presents a diverse range of approaches to her statement, and explores the vernacular she expertly creates through narrative and cultural references. Her illustrations include simple but carefully composed figures often depicting female figures in various scenes and poses. As her work evolved to include the. use of pattern and color, we see a self expression that is both personal to her and relatable to the viewer.

Her recent work includes paintings that utilize geometric elements along with her mastery of color. Figures are presented on square, diamond and circular canvases, gracefully incorporated with patterns inspired by traditional Japanese imagery and the collection at MOSH. The use of patterns and collage has clear visual references to her goals as an artist on individuality, identify and our own intersectionality as humans. These added references include origami, paper cranes, daruma dolls, floral themes and even printed text. Her artistic goals include inspiring “the viewer to break down the stereotypes and to look beyond the boundaries of their own culture and identity for introspection” while bringing a “understanding, mindfulness, and connection in what unifies us to society at large”.

Elena recently had work on view at MOSH, the Museum of Science and History May 4th – July 11th, and will be doing a Meet the Artist there on July 20th, 2019. Other upcoming events include an exhibition at Mize Gallery – St. Petersburg, July 2019.


INSTAGRAM @elena_ohlander

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