Remember me on this computer
Ilona Niemi's artist profile

ILONA NIEMI

Ilona's portfolio
Exhibitions/Events SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2006
HOSPITAL OF HAPPINESS, New Art Center, New York
ISOLATION TANK, The Drake Hotel, Chicago
2003
PEARL NECKLACE, Raatihuoneen Galleria, Turku, Finland
2002
ALL SHOOK UP, The Foyer, Aberdeen, UK
2001
The Wildboar, Aberdeen, UK
1999
Vanha Raatihuone (with David Graham during the Taiteiden Yö, Nights of Arts), Turku, Finland
1998
Piikkiön Osuuspankki, Piikkiö, Finland

SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
2007
Micromentalists, Gallery Fifty50 and Butcher Shop/Dogmatic, Chicago
Le papier (part) deux, Gescheidle Gallery, Chicago (group exhibition of works on paper)
Drawing Game (D.I.C.K.), New Harmony Contemporary Gallery, New Harmony, Indiana

2006
Snap to Grid, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California
Contemporary Portraits Exhibit, Mad Art Gallery, St Louis
York Freedom Auction (organized by University of York in support of CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education in Africa), Bishopthorpe Palace, York, England
Drawing Game (D.I.C.K) with David Graham, Cheonae Kim and Kelly Sim, Vergette Gallery, Carbondale
Visual Chat, with Cheonae Kim, PPP4, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale
Threshold, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale

2005
Holiday Show, Mark Palmer Gallery, Paducah, Kentucky
Space Invaders, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale, Illinois
Up Your Gary Glitter! with Kelly Sim and Matt Carter, Upside Downtown, Carbondale, Illinois

2004
New Graduates' Exhibition, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale, Illinois
Scopeoholic, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale, Illinois
Fighting back, arranged by Amnesty International, MotoAzabu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
The Gaslight Gallery, Mougins Village, France
Group show, 21m2 Visningsrum, Stavanger, Norway

2002
ArtRatikka, Helsinki
BP Portrait exhibition, The National Portrait Gallery, London

2001
A6-Show, Lewisham Art Gallery, London
New Generation Show, Compass Gallery, Glasgow
Degree show at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen
Aberdeen Artist's Exhibition, Aberdeen Art Gallery
The Royal Scottish Academy Students Exhibition, Edinburgh
A5-Project, Peacock Printmakers, Aberdeen

2000
Aberdeen Artist's Exhibition, Aberdeen Art Gallery
British Airways Exhibition, Aberdeen Airport
LIKE-works, The Premier Café, Aberdeen
Marking Time Exhibition, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen

Publications PUBLICATIONS & OTHER PRESS

‘Momento Mori’ by Paul Friswold, Riverfront Times, 3rd Aug., 2006: 27
‘Ison tytön leikit’ by Mia Tykkyläinen, Turun Sanomat, 28th May, 2003
Guest in Vieraskirja, Turku Television, May / June, 2003
‘Kauniit naisenkasvot uhan ympäröiminä’ by Ritva Setälä, Kunnallislehti, 24th May, 2003: 6
‘Alumni Focus: Ilona Niemi (Fine Art 2001)’, RGU Alumni Review, 2002

PUBLISHED WRITING
Perfect, Art Papers, July / August, 2006: 73
Humor Me, Art Papers, May / June, 2006: 60
Light Treatment, Art Papers, March / April, 2006: 73
Girls’ Night out, Art Papers, March / April, 2006: 71-73

Galleries/Agents
Email Address ilonatic[AT]hotmail.com
Website ilonaniemi.com
Address
Nationality Finland
Education2004- present Postgraduate studies in art, SIUC, Carbondale, Illinois, USA
1997-2001 Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, Scotland, BA(Hons) Fine Art
1994- 2000 Åbo Akademi, Turku, Finland, MA (English language and literature)
Date of birth 18.05.1975
Why make art? It's my task in life.

ARTIST'S STATEMENT
My work focuses on the fluctuating border between artificiality and reality. Life today resembles pretend play, in which grown-ups manoeuvre from virtual to carnal reality, actively constructing and reshaping their identities to fit each different sphere. Only death remains the ultimate reminder of physicality, yet even corpses go through a mortuary makeover before burial, accentuating the human need to beautify, and escape corporeality. Similarly, my works hide the sinister beneath a sugary coating.

The memory of a childhood friend, Piia, who disappeared in 1988, is the main generator behind my works, in which I construct an imaginary environment reminiscent of childhood play but with a grown-up, psychological twist. Using traditional oil painting techniques, I depict faces of young women from our hometown in Finland. In contrast to the paintings’ initial impact of sweetness, my source materials are morbid: I base the biomorphic shapes on diatoms found in the bodies of drowning victims, and abstract the colours on Photoshop from autopsy photographs.

While my main research includes forensic, psychological and mythological literature, I am also inspired by the writings of Angela Carter, Anaïs Nin, Marguerite Duras, Eeva Kilpi, and Laura Hird. My favourite artists are Yayoi Kusama, Hieronymus Bosch and Karen Kilimnik.