Greatest American Painters

Erik Thor Sandberg (1975)

Posted by A. S. Amberson on May 21, 2012










Once And Future (left panel)

Once And Future (centre panel)

Once And Future (right panel)




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Thing Of Ruin

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© Erik Thor Sandberg

official website



7 Responses to “Erik Thor Sandberg (1975)”

  1. vincenzo said

    At first glance, these paintings may seem exclusive jurisdiction of Freud and Jung, but I am of the opinion that the work of this young artist are of excellent quality, both pictorial and intellectual. We must not dwell only on its appearance, that is what is gathered with a careless and superficial glance, because doing so tralascerebbe the true meaning embodied in the paintings. The thing that most stands out in the work of Erik Thor Sandberg, at least in my opinion, is rich in symbolic content, sometimes paradoxical, with which the artist intends to represent the aspiration to achieve harmony between the earthly and material condition, with the purely spiritual and transcendent. This paradisiacal harmony, at least from what I understand from the subjects and symbols chosen by Sandberg, manifests itself in the mitigation and perhaps also in the fusion of opposing things: matter and spirit, life and death, bullying and sweetness, courage and fear, etc. .. Moreover, in the paintings of Sandberg I think I can see a clear influence of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a great Flemish artist of the sixteenth century, that on certain topics has proved a great master, as indeed it was before him, the ‘another Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch.

    • vincenzo said

      This time the translation I have not succeeded very well. The Italian word “tralascerebbe” should be understood as “neglect”. For this I apologize. Of the paintings listed above I particularly like “Lazy”, in which she seems lazy not even have the strength to ward off the annoying fly that has settled on the right hand.

  2. J. Sclafani said

    I see a lot going on in the various imagery by this artist, and it is pretty troubling.

    There are many repeating themes that are either disturbing- or if not at least disturbing, then as repulsive as the women depicted in them.

    None of the imagery has an upbeat vibe. Then again, art does not have to be all butterflies and cotton candy.

    Still, I have seen sorrowful, and even macabre art, that is no where as bizarre, tacky and twisted as this.

    As for the reference of Freud and Jung mentioned above,( by the previous poster) the only thing that can be taken out of that critique, is that the artist has some psychological issues he appears to be putting into his artwork; of which I won’t even begin to try to comprehend.

    That is not meant as a put down. I say it as a realist.

    Face it, some artists’ subconscious (or not so subconscious) ends up on canvas or paper- it’s a fact.

    I can only say ugliness abounds in their artwork in so many ways, as to make it painful to look at.

    There is no eroticism to be found, if the artist was even attempting that. Just ghoulish, unattractive nudes. 😦

    Was that the point? Perhaps.

    But if I cannot look at an artist’s work – then it is not art I can enjoy.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder- this is true.

    But some artists seem to stick to constant themes or a repetitve message or symbolism in their work.(Case in point is this artist.)

    How many rabbits did you count in this artist’s work? It borders on a fetish.

    I believe that animal appeared the most, out of all the ones depicted.

    It may mean something important to the artist and while they may try hard to bring that across in their art,it doesn’t quite impact the viewer the way intended.

    In fact, in this artist’s work, any attempt to make one understand their message clearly, actually backfired.

  3. vincenzo said

    I am of the opinion that almost all the artists (and not only the painters), who more or less to have any psychological or psychiatric disorder, especially those that address issues somewhat ‘complex and extravagant.

    The artist of serenity, you feel happy and satisfied with life, would have no interest to twist your brain in subjects difficult to interpret, but he surely be delighted just to make things beautiful, lovely and quiet and the view that allietino lighten the hearts of those who watch them. Unfortunately, it is also true that life is not made entirely of roses and flowers, but is also made of many thorns.

    That said, I think the intention is not to Sandberg to represent the erotic, and even the macrabo, but more likely he wants to highlight the plight on earth, in perpetual hostage to the opposite extremes, and are often resorted to paradoxical situations .

    Some things are easy to understand, while others, sorely testing the patience and the desire of the viewer to discover the true meaning, which I think only the artist could explain, such as very enigmatic abundance of rabbits and cats. And I do not think that the artist has to hate animals and feminine beauty. Moreover, looking at the figure of “Lazy”, one can not detect its feminine beauty. And this may help to understand the ugliness in this grotesque scenes of women sadistic and violent, is only symbolic.

    The two paintings in which the skeletons are, in my opinion have nothing macabre, as they relate to the cycle of earthly life, from birth to death. This unfortunately is the destiny of man, even when he feels satisfied by temporary earthly delights.

    It ‘true that the artist is repeated so much, insisting aspects cruel and paradoxical, as in the case of the woman who is holding a hand that has killed the rabbit, while in his other hand holds a flower, or the woman fat and ugly intent to place the iron on a rabbit, while at the same time she is threatened by another woman rather arrogant and quarrelsome. But I think that this artist does not feel hatred towards women.

    I remain of the view that he, drawing on his way to the paintings of Brueghel and Bosch, intends to emphasize the need for improving the human condition, through a process of purification of all those things that oppress his spiritual being, and that prevent it from achieving true happiness.

  4. vincenzo said

    The Italian word “allietino” shall mean “cheer up”.

  5. Bruce said

    Well, THIS was weird. Stockings and rabbits! Deformities and deer! Whips and kittens! Oh my! Aspirations of being the Hieronymus Bosch of our times, I suppose.

    • vincenzo said

      Regarding the contrast a bit ‘strange between stockings and deer, maybe you’re right Bruce, as well as in the comment J.Sclafani n.2.

      In fact, the stockings in the intention of the artist, would represent the sexual provocation, that is, eroticism and temptation, compared to purity and spiritual regeneration, symbolized by the deer. And if the artist’s intention was really that erotic, we must honestly admit that this is an eroticism unsuccessful.

      I think that the content present in artistic creations too conceptual, are particularly incomprehensible, when the artist leaves taken from the frenzy of wanting to impress by force, using a rather complicated symbolism.

      The symbology of rabbits and cats, lends itself to many interpretations. These animals, in addition to being domestic are popularly known for their fecundity, and then they might be related to the idea of sexual reproduction.

      So the artist, if not a convinced supporter of abortion, he is definitely against the proliferation of the human race, who, he said, would continue to perpetuate the misery on earth. This is just one of many possible interpretations.

      If we think that the rabbit is also a little courage and timidity, while the cat is being sly, anarchic, then the question becomes too long and complicated …… and it is better not to unnecessary mental fatigue.

      I have done my best to try to understand the significance of this complex symbolism, and perhaps I did not succeed very well. However, what is certain in this type of art, physical deformities and humor noir take precedence over aesthetics. It will be not pleasing to the eye, and perhaps not everyone will like, but it remains an art, and as such can be criticized, but not abolished.

      In criticism, I have always been beneficial to artists, and are of the opinion that if an artist feels satisfied with what he does, despite the negative reaction must be respected. We are not in his mind, and therefore we can not go beyond the tentative interpretation of his art. So I see it.

      Apart from this, I think the artist is technically valid.

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