"You Must Die, I Alone Am Best" by Tiina Lilja (2011) acrylic on canvas (90x95cm)

You Must Die, I Alone Am Best: Edinburgh College of Art 2011-2012

This period in Lilja’s oeuvre is characterised by intense self-exploration, in the form of violently unflattering auto-portraiture designed to expose and revel in the perceived imperfections of the artist, slowly giving way to more gentile reworking of the iconography of her childhood, concluding in pieces that are more resolved, if not minimalist in comparison.

A large part of this development in Lilja’s studio work can be attributed to the ongoing dialogue with the artist and her peers in the Edinburgh College of Art, guidance by the staff as well as the influence of other well established artists based in Scotland. Simultaneously, a shift is taking place regarding the subjects she is choosing to paint: The raw human forms convulsed by emotion are being pushed out of view and replaced by serene inanimate subjects, with a shared aesthetic of soft colours and large empty surfaces.  Through spending longer on singular, carefully chosen subjects, Lilja’s style of painting is evolving, too.  Fascinated by the idea of replicating different textures and makes, she is finding herself, again, turning towards more traditional oil painting.

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Tiina Lilja

Painter, mother to Rusty the dog, living her best life in the South of France

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