Lene Makwana is a Norwegian mixed media artist based in Perth, Western Australia. She attended Einar Granum School of Fine Arts and Kristiania University College in Oslo, Norway before receiving her BA of Arts; Illustration & Photography Design from Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Her work mainly consists of collages, watercolour paintings, and digital collages, ranging from figurative motifs to abstract. Her quest seeking balance and fusion between figure and pattern has led her to explore patterns as a stand-alone element, and the last few years she has been working around the theme, concept and mere meaning of the word: Construction, and she works on local and international commissions out of her studio in Perth.
My work has for the last few years been inspired by, as well as evolving around, themes such as female placement in modern society, identity, fragmentation and construction, rooted in my Scandinavian background. I am a figurative and abstract artist, working with mixed media including water colours and acrylic paint, graphite, colour-pencils, traditional collage and digital collage.
For my figurative work, I focus on the female figure, represented by heads and abstracted torsos. The journey combining the figures with patterns has led me into exploring the abstract aspects of my work. The figures in my work are significant in several ways; they are representations and symbols of the female more than being a portrait or depictions of life, and are always anonymous-like and devoid of personality.
By showing heads and torsos invite to further interpretations as those specific parts of the human body are heavy with qualities and symbols, such as the head being the home of our mind, memory, intellect, life-force in addition to being the centre of most of our senses. The idea of obstructing or depriving the figure of any of these brings a certain discomfort to the picture and invites to further interpretations.
Colours play a significant role in my work, and are symbols of qualities and representations and add value to the figures or patterns. For the “Construction” series it has been important to keep a restricted colour palette, where blue is the dominant hue complemented by earth tones such as sienna, umbra, rust and orange. In the meaning of colours, blue relates to communication and is cold and persistent, but has also evolved to be a symbol of depression. I am aware that colours are conformed by cultural perception and that the way I use colours are a result of my own cultural background and understanding.
The abstract elements in my work are based on grids, systems and rigid constructions. The patterns are made mostly in a block fashion built up by small diamond shapes and squares, symbolising conformity and society as well as conceptual and theoretical states. My work is labour intensive, and by using colours, contrasting light and dark areas and collage elements I build depth to otherwise flat designs. Creating richness in texture and surface complements the sharp edges and clean compositions.
The Construction series is a body of work in progress. The figure in combination with patterns are explored and defined, as well as pattern as a stand-alone element. The figure can be seen in environments consisting of patterns, grids and colours either restricting or depriving the figure from their senses or in a nurturing setting.