Field of Art: Painter
Introduced by: Turid Meeker
Award Presented by: Turid Meeker
Born in Norway, Sol Kjøk left her tiny mountain village at 16 years of age. She went on to live and study in Paris, Vienna, Medellín (Colombia), and a number of U.S. cities, earning three graduate degrees on her way. Virtually self-taught in artistic techniques, she moved to New York City for an MFA in Painting at Parsons School of Design in 1998, and has since then lived and worked in an artists’ collective she founded in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
An avid drawer all her life, Sol participated in her first professional exhibition as a teenager. To date, her work has been featured in 100+ group shows worldwide, as well as three two-person shows in the U.S. She has had seven solo exhibits in museums, galleries and artist-run spaces in the US and Europe, most recently a multimedia show of some 50 pieces at Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin. Sol is currently working towards her eighth solo show, to be held at Galleri Ramfjord in Oslo this summer.
Sol’s work is included in museums and other public collections in the US and Europe, incl. the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Nordic Museum of Drawing and the World Gallery of Drawings. She has participated in international artist residencies, taught at universities and art schools and lectured at museums and art centers. A recipient of numerous awards and artist’s grants, Sol’s work has been reviewed in many publications internationally.
In February 2011, Sol founded NOoSPHERE, a nonprofit exhibition and performance venue on the LES in Manhattan, with the objective of giving international artist colleagues exposure on the important NYC art scene.
- “I AM MY WORLD” curated by David Gibson @ NOoSPHEREArts inNYC, March 1 – 31, 2013
- A House Full of Friends: Anniversary Show & Benefit Auction, 4 February, 2013
- Profile in Nordic Life, Sol Kjøk, Artist VIKING Magazine, April, 2012
- Cristina Skreiberg, “3 kunstnere i New York,” KUNST, Vol. 2, 2012
- Anne Schäffer, “NEW YORK .NO” Numér, Vol. 88, pp. 34-36, 2011
- Ida Svingen Mo, “Analog Amour” SNITT Magasin, Vol 5-6, 2009
- Britte Montigny, “Ekvilibristisk teknik och akrobatik” Hallandsposten, Aug 12, 2008
- Helmer Lång, “Mycket mer än människokroppar” Skånska Dagbladet, July 25, 2008
“Her core themes—the body, its limits and the tension between its strength and its vulnerability–mutate into a variety of mediums. Recent sculptural pieces […] are hung from braided human hair, which is both strong enough to hold a certain amount of weight yet also fragile, even unpredictable. There is a risk that the pieces, like the bodies rising and converging in her drawings, could fall—a maddening but tantalizing possibility of self-destruction colliding with a willful determination to be present.” [Meghan Dailey, “Always Somebody Moving” VolumeOne, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2010] “‘The wall work in Berlin was made in one week, during which Sol Kjøk lived in the gallery and worked virtually around the clock for seven intense consecutive days. “This performance aspect is an important part of the process for me. It is a matter of testing out the limits of the body and facing the risk of falling flat on one’s face,” Sol explains to SNITT”. [Ida Svingen Mo, “Analog Amour,” SNITT: Magasin for visuell kommunikasjon, No. 6, 2009] “This makes for a kind of conceptual art [where] the artist directs the action, so that the result reads both dramatic and mystifying. The viewer constantly feels that there is much more to this than a simple juggling with the organic forms of the human body; there are also symbolic accents and even a philosophy of life.” [Helmer Lång, ”Much More Than Human Bodies,” Skånska Dagbladet, July 25, 2008] “It is expertly done. So dazzlingly accomplished that you all but miss the fact that Kjøk’s work also holds existential questions with a full range of feelings, spanning from safety-seeking anxiety and fear, to protective love and joy of life.” [Britte Montigny, ” Equilibristic Technique and Acrobatics,” Hallandsposten, August 12, 2008] “[…] There is a shared sci-fi quality to much of the work, as it deals with contemporary life. Kjok’s ethereal drawings of a con- gregation of nude, bald women and men forming their bodies into a planetary mass look like a cross between the andro- gynous representatives of some future race and the randy hippies of A. Comfort’s Joy of Sex. The work is trendy and very now, and gives the sense there are cohesive, shared doings bubbling up from the studios and galleries of Cool Factory New York.” [Felicia Feaster, “Something Weird Grows in Brooklyn,” Creative Loafing, July 28, 2006] “Kjøk’s drawings of the human figure recall the work from great past masters such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Yet, the swirling configurations and dream-like moods bring the art into the realm of contemporary art.” [Jerry Stein, “Much More Than an Art Gallery, “The Cincinnati Post, 2006] “[…] Virtually classical drawings, [but] the contemporary air of ‘scenes’ and settings and the abstract and often chaotic figure groups make this something entirely different from classical nudes.” [Erik Bjørnskau, “Recommended!” Aftenposten, 2005] “In general, I inclined toward [works] that have a strong sense of texture […] and/or a certain intricacy, perhaps because such factors make for a certain perceptual ambiguity and emotional excitement. Kjøk’s Swirling drawings have them to perfection. Without ambiguity and an undertone of irrationality art—especially modern art—tends to lose intellectual substance and expressive power.” [Donald B. Kuspit, Juror Statement, New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, 2001]