In Sami Havia’s artworks, the relationship between the abstract and figurative has been wrenched into the absurd. His organic idiom hides a multitude of references and genuinely figurative elements are concealed behind and in between the abstract surfaces. Sometimes, it takes a keen eye to see them.
The human figures found in the artworks are observers who have been absorbed in the landscape. Their presentation borders on pseudo-naïve and is a perfect fit in Havia’s abstract and surreal visual expression. These figures accentuate playfulness, they are escapist passers-by of life. The visitor can empathize with and linger on their reverie.
The exhibition includes paintings on canvas but also dry pastels and drawings. Havia chooses his tool and canvas size according to what is appropriate for the composition and colours. He has never been set in his ways; his strong tendency for reinvention has developed his expression year by year.
Havia’s hand is precise, although it doesn’t always appear so. He paints deliberate mistakes on the colour surfaces, smudging the edges of patterns and breaking off the outlines in illogical places. At some places, the surface may even look plastered, whereas others may display watercolour-like sheerness. Although the works seem to be about coincidence, nothing is coincidence. The apparent ease of the artworks combined with extreme deliberation makes them timeless.
The paintings have a strong colour palette. Shades of green meet warm terracotta tones and the lighter spots are strongly accentuated. Havia is a painter of colour, but the smaller pieces in pencil help the viewer understand how essential drawing is for his expression. The line also runs in the background of the paintings, even if it is not immediately noticeable.
While is Sami Havia’s first exhibition at Gallery Halmetoja, although he did have a solo exhibition at its predecessor, ARTag Gallery, in 2019. The previous exhibition presented a series of paper-based drawings and paintings.