Born in Norway, Sol Kjøk lives and works at Mothership NYC, her arts collective in Brooklyn, New York. After studies in Paris, Athens (GA), Vienna, Medellín and Cincinnati that earned her three graduate degrees in humanities, she obtained an MFA in painting at Parsons School of Design in New York in 1998. An avid drawer all her life, Kjøk’s work has been featured in 100+ shows worldwide. She has held artist residencies in several countries, taught at universities and art schools and lectured at museums and art centers throughout the US. Her work, which originates as performance, is featured in Drawing Essentials (Oxford University Press), a textbook widely used in fine arts programs in the US. A recipient of some 50 awards and artist’s grants, Kjøk is represented in public collections such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Nordic Museum of Drawing, and the Osten Museum of Drawing, as well as numerous private and corporate collections throughout the world. In 2011, Kjøk founded NOoSPHERE Arts, a nonprofit exhibition and performance venue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, with the objective of giving international artist colleagues exposure on the NYC art scene. Last Frontier NYC, a new collaborative arts platform launched in October 2015, is a continuation of this initiative.
“I create figurative drawings and paintings − preferably life-size and beyond − dealing with the fundamental interrelatedness and interdependence of all living things and the constraints imposed by our physical bodies. My scenarios are not mental constructs; they come from wordless places such as dreams, meditation and other states of altered consciousness. Their truth, revealed in some partial way to the dreamer, suffers from being squeezed through the bottleneck of verbal language.
I believe this imagery springs from a well that we all share. Western civilization is now at a pivotal point where cutting-edge science is starting to prove what mystics and ancient cultures have always intuitively known: all matter in the universe exists in a web of connection and constant influence and thought is simply another form of transmitted energy. We can no longer view ourselves and our minds as the private, self-contained workings of an individual brain. In short, we are oneness having the experience of separateness.
To put these internal glimpses out there in the world, I use my own and my friends’ bodies as a visual and visceral source. I gather my loved ones in my studio to pose with me, often in acrobatically challenging ways. This hands-on physical experience allows me to explore aspects of the human condition that are particularly interesting to me: pushing against our limits; the risk of falling; the co-presence of vulnerability and strength.”