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 can’t 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. Danell’s 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: '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). Claremorris Gallery, Mayo IE, (2018), 'Island Life', Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018), ‘The Last Wilderness’ (solo) at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2017) and Galway Arts Centre (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 exhibition at Ashford Gallery, RHA, Dublin in March 2019. She was a 2017 recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award and has previously received Arts Council Bursary and Project Awards (2010, 2011, 2017), Bursary- and Tyrone Guthrie Centre residency awards from Galway City Council, the 2011 Wexford Arts Centre Emerging Artist Award and a 2016 residency award at the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. Her work is in the collections of the OPW, Kelly Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Wexford County Council, Galway City Council, Motala Municipal Council, Sweden and private collections in Ireland, Sweden, Norway & the UK. A publication on Danell's work with an essay by Sue Rainsford was launched in March 2017.