Heikki Marila (b.1966, Lahti, Finland) has used his characteristically free-flowing expressive style to create contemporary descendants of symbolically laden floral still-lifes from art history. Marila finds his themes from both his own surroundings and those that are more distant, both geographically and chronologically. The reworking of these familiar motifs enables the painting process and the outcome to gain new dimensions. The physicality of the paint and the gestures highlight a struggle between the figurative and non-figurative characteristics within the work.
In Marila's paintings a monumentalisation of the insignificant, mundane and marginalized, could perhaps be the best summary of the essence of his production. It is apparent in the work that there is an understanding of the provocative potential that painting can have, and this is utilised with an expressive pathos that in turn becomes part of the theme.
As Marila says: "I do not paint actual flower arrangements but instead variations on existing flower paintings. Perhaps I am trying to distance myself from the theme, so that the question is no longer just about the genre of still-lifes. The flower theme is interesting, because it is organic and allows experimentation and the opportunity to adopt different painterly gestures. The flower arrangement is an abstraction for the very reason that it is an immensely common theme".