Erik Thor Sandberg, Receptivity (detail), 2018

On the edge of mountain pass in front of a guard rail we find a nude in communication with numerable birds of all types: there owls, cranes, a peacock, an emu, an ostrich, and even a flamingo. Most of the birds are smaller than actual size in relation to the woman, or perhaps she is a giant. The ground is littered with eggs of all sizes.

When asked whether the woman is being receptive to the birds’ message or vice versa, the artist says: “I look at it being a two way street on who is receptive to whom. I feel like the woman has sent out a beacon of some sort in hopes to learn something from the birds; not a literal beacon but maybe a just a desire that can be felt by the birds.”

Many of Sandberg’s paintings have narratives that are intentionally ambiguous; however I feel that this one is about Man’s complex relationship with Nature. Although humans have developed a greater ability to manipulate the environment since Industrialization, at the same time we seek to be one with it. The painting comes from a series called Vice and Virtue, where images explore mankind’s goodness, but also its inherent flaws.

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