Cecilia Danell (b.1985) is a Swedish artist based in Galway, Ireland since 2004. While regarding painting as her main medium, her work is multifaceted and also utilises film and installation. Through her own encounters with the Scandinavian landscape, she explores the theatricality of places that become imbued with artifice, as they canít live up to the human need for that which is primal, wild and untouched. Her current body of paintings is based on walks in the area surrounding her family farm in Sweden, where the experience of being in the landscape influences the paintings beyond the photographic source material. Danell details each walk through maps, photographs and notes in her journal, but once in the studio, the quality of oil paint and the hands on process of making become as important to her as the initial source material. She walks and traces an environment that she knows intimately, happening upon decaying remnants of human activity, further upending the romantic notion of nature as untended wilderness. Danellís work always pulls the viewer back to the fact that what she's presenting is a construct. The painted landscape is melting, ocular glitches of unnatural colour present themselves as part of the scenery. She has previously used the theatre as metaphor for constructed reality by presenting objects with the surreal quality of being made in the likeness of something, yet falling short of true semblance. Her 2017 film 'Tonight at the Magic Theatre' expanded on this further by mixing footage of a Swedish provincial theatre with footage of theatre props moving about in the landscape. Theatre sets were further referenced through the making of a large-scale forest installation from laser cut plywood which complimented the film piece in the gallery.
Recent exhibitions include: 'I set a Bait for the Unknown' (solo), Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2020), 'In a Landscape' (solo) at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2019), 'Winter Wanderer' (solo) at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin (2019), 'Futures - Series 3 Episode 2' at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2018), where Sunday Times critic Cristin Leach said about her work: "The texture of the painted line is superb, the stroke satisfying, the composition and colour choices sublime" (Sunday Times Culture, 25/11/18), London Art Fair, UK (2020), Claremorris Gallery, Mayo IE, (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018), 'The Last Wilderness' (solo) at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon IE (2017) and Galway Arts Centre IE (2017), which garnered a five star review in the Irish Times: 'A Landscape of the mind, and a terrifically effective one too' (Aidan Dunne, 28/03/17) with an upcoming solo exhibitions at The Burren College of Art Gallery, Clare IE in 2021. Cecilia Danell was artist in residence at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris during January and February 2020 as the 2019 recipient of the Visual Artists Ireland and Suki Tea Art Prize. In 2020 she also received the ESB Keating Award and Medal for an Outstanding Artwork at the 190th RHA Annual Exhibition, where she was also shortlisted for the main RCSI Art Prize and made the current shortlist for the 2020/2021 Hennessy Craig Award. She has received several Arts Council Bursary and Project Awards (2010, 2011, 2017, 2019, 2020), including the 2017 Arts Council Next Generation Award. She was the 2011 recipient of the Wexford Arts Centre Emergence Award and in 2016 she was awarded a two month residency at the Nordic Artists' Centre Dale, Norway funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. Her work is in the collections of The Office of Public Works, the Irish Arts Council, Trinity College, Dublin, Kelly Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Wexford County Council, Galway City Council, Motala Municipal Council, Sweden and private collections in Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Canada, France & the UK. A publication on Danell's work with an essay by Sue Rainsford was launched in March 2017. Cecilia Danell is represented by Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin.