Maria Ytterlid is an abstract artist born in 1960. She lives and works in the countryside on the west coast of Sweden. The proximity to the sea, open landscapes and the forest has been of crucial importance for her artistic development. The organic forms that constantly appear in her abstract drawings and paintings are inspired by the rolling landscape or the winding shapes of the seaweed.
After an introductory year at an art school, she decided to develop her own way of expressing herself. She has completed theoretical studies in art theory and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art History. For more than thirty years she has worked as a part-time artist. She also works as a personal assistant to a girl with severe disabilities without speech. Therefore, the wordless communication has been her great interest in recent years. These communication forms include human–human, human–animal and the wonderful world of plant communication.
In 2018 she published a book, Face to Face, with one hundred images of faces in ink and texts about the artistic process. These sketches and paintings are the result of a long-lasting project, that raises thoughts about the silent communication between the faces and the audience.
She is now working on a seaweed project with thirty large-scale ink drawings to be combined with some acrylic paintings with black organic forms. Both this and the Face to Face project are planned for exhibitions.
Themes in Maria’s art are related to our climate and our civilization. She studies the forms, movements and forces of nature and how it affects man. Her mission is to make visible the unique character of each person and plant and the interaction between them. The science on the symbiosis between plants has influenced her art in a new optimistic direction.
Dramatic landscapes and expressive formations inspire me to a freer mindset. But even though nature is a rich source of inspiration, I do not paint in a realistic way. I want the spontaneous and the thoughtful to work together. Chance matters but I also create order by focusing on certain details and remove others that are out of balance. I think freedom and fantasy is important for influencing people’s lives in a more optimistic way.
My abstract paintings are built up in different layers. Often, I work with quick, broad gestures to achieve a sense of freedom. Shapes and colors emerge and disappear. I play with similarities and differences in shapes and lines. Every line has its unique character, just like fingerprints, and lives its own life. Underlying layers shine through and create a feeling of several dimensions. We all read texts in newspapers or watch news from natural disasters; these news affect us subconsciously and suddenly they appear in my pictures. I try to be observant, so I do not miss them, and develop these influences further.
For me, it is important that the painting retains a freshness or a sketch-like expression to preserve the feeling of endless possibilities. Working with art is one way to live in the present moment, to be curious and brave. It allows me to dive deep into nature facts or phenomena and transform them into my own world of painting. My hope is that we all move towards a freer, more colorful world and learn to live in coexistence with all living beings.