The title of the exhibition, The Crow Wants Everything to be Black, is itself the herald of a sphere of unpredictable mystery, and is a characteristic feature of the work of Visnes.
Most of the works can be described as decorative. Two dimensional and generally repetitive patterns fill the picture surface, either as a framework or as a background for a more prominent motive. Alternatively, the patterns constitute the visual history in themselves. Visnes is preoccupied by the ornamental; lines, forms, colours; but also their inherent historical and cultural meanings. With compositional features taken from traditional pictorial representations, as for instance, heraldic emblems from the past, or Dutch still-life paintings from the 1600s, her modern paintings create perspectives with many meanings for our own time. Symbolism is a key word in any meeting with Visnes’ art; it is the story that lies behind the sign that gives vitality and force to her expression. At the same time, the craftsmanship and meticulous elegance of the decorative process, clearly reminiscent of William Morris and the British Arts and Crafts Movement, seems to be important for her. It is a tendency we can observe among an increasing number of today’s young artists. This in itself is an interesting development, as the term “decorative” seen in an art historical perspective has been negatively loaded and associated with a type of “low art”.
Hanneline Visnes (1972), born and raised in Bergen, now lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She has had one-man exhibitions at Doggerfisher, Edinburgh (2007 and 2004), Pump House Gallery, London (2006) Hå gamle prestegård (The Old Rectory at Hå, Norway) (2002), among other locations. Hanneline Visnes has also taken part in a number of group exhibitions in Norway and elsewhere.