Nils-Erik painted angels /
This exploration of family inheritance began with painting my great-uncle Nils-Erik's studio, from photographs I found of it as it was in the 80s in Sweden, before his death. Nils-Erik painted images of angels and of Jesus over and over again, as emanating bodies of light. I met Nils-Erik once as a child, and didn't remember a lot about him. I had been told by family that he suffered from "nerves." I studied the photographs of these paintings, and I wondered what these images or icons meant to him and what role the act of painting played in his life. Around the same time, I discovered a Swedish song for children entitled "Änglamålaren" or "Angelpainter" in conversation with my friend, Gabriella, who is also Swedish. The song became a wonderful vehicle to encapsulate my many conflicting feelings about religious preoccupations, as someone who grew up not only devoutly religious, but also has dealt with my own difficult emotional problems related to religious conceptions of God. The paintings in this series speak to the zine that developed between me and Gabriella, and the theme of the Angelpainter is one that I will continue to work with for the indefinite future.
What is an angelpainter? What are they painting?