Glenn Sorensen, Behaviour (2009), Oil on canvas, 42.5 x 55.5 cm (left), portrait of the artist Glenn Sorensen (right)

Inside the mind of Glenn Sorensen

Exploring the creative process of an Australian artist featured in Vitamin P2

Despite their initial impressions, Sydney-born artist Glenn Sorensen's still life paintings of plants, buds or tendrils subtly reflect the human condition. His soft colour paintings of plants, lit by sunlight, occasionally splaying off into the distance often have a palpable human quality to them. When people do turn up, as they do in The Birthday Party, (pictured) they appear to have almost flowered rather than merely appeared. Sorensen studied art at the City Art Institute in Sydney before moving on to the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts. 

Who are you?

I am an Australian painter living in Sweden.

What's on your mind right now?

At the moment I am thinking about the painting I just started and my next show and how to deal with that particular space. The space is intimate, something that appeals to me, but at the same time I find the smaller spaces more demanding. Ironically I always show more paintings in a smaller space than in a larger one. I would like the paintings to be a narrative and I have to work out how to approach that if I decide to continue with that idea. Opposites appeal to me at the moment, particularly grotesque versus beauty, to paint something that is grotesque, horrible, but to do it so beautifully it is irresistible to look at. Also more formally, positive mass versus negative mass. I´m thinking about these things in relation to the next group of paintings.

Glenn Sorensen, Days (2008), Oil on canvas, 50 x 40cm
Glenn Sorensen, Days (2008), Oil on canvas, 50 x 40cm

How do you get this stuff out?

When I start a painting I have an image in my head, also and probably more importantly I have an idea as to what that picture will do and what it is about, the painting has to mean something to me in order to exist. A large part of the process is the correction of errors and the removal of anything that may be unnecessary. I find that this reduction, or simplification, lends to an intensity of intention. Beauty has always been important to me and is at times the most difficult of my ambitions and is the basis of many decisions when painting.

How does it fit together?

It fits together when I am satisfied. When I have a painting that I like, like looking at and thinking about, when I can identify with the picture. If the initial intention has been realised then I am particularly pleased.

What brought you to this point?

A lot of painting and who I am bought me to this point. I try to keep my days as simple as possible. I have my family and I have my paintings. The process of making pictures is demanding and time-consuming, I don´t like to turn off, I am always thinking about a painting or in the studio painting.

Glenn Sorensen, The Birthday Party (2007-09), Oil on canvas, 40 x 44cm
Glenn Sorensen, The Birthday Party (2007-09), Oil on canvas, 40 x 44cm

Can you control it?

Control is important to me. Being aware of what is going on in front of me and what I want certainly helps. There are a lot of changes made, but this becomes layers of paint which make the painting more real and important to me.  The longer I´ve been working on a picture the easier it becomes to continue. This has partly to do with the surface quality, when the canvas weave has disappeared under all the paint and the surface is smooth and dry and absorbs light, but also at this point I´ve made mistakes and corrected them and I'm more confident that I can finish the picture.

What's next?

More painting and a lot of gardening.

Glenn Sorensen is represented by Corvi-Mora gallery, London, Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Sydney, Raucci / Santamaria, Naples  and Galerie Zink, Berlin.

His next show opens April 26 at Corvi-Mora gallery in London.

Get inside the mind of more artists from Vitamin P2 here:

Inside the mind of Serban Savu
Inside the mind of Xylor Jane
Inside the mind of Ellen Altfest
Inside the mind of Antonio Ballester Moreno
Inside the mind of Milena Dragicevic
Inside the mind of Lesley Vance
Inside the mind of Li Shurui

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