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Artist Matilda Forsberg paints family portraits liken to whimsical dream sequences

Matilda Forsberg is a portraiture artist with an affinity for whimsical drafting of configurations of landscapes. This series of Forsberg's works, composed between late 2021 and 2022, features a hypnotizing rich chroma of underpainting with faint squiggly drafts of miraged scenes.

In "A Procession," a family portrait is composed of vivid tones of yellow. Yellow symbolically communicates the joyous occasion of the gathering. Look closely at the littlest child, and you'll observe a faint party hat worn and a smiley-face balloon floating on their left side.

Upon gazing at the painting, the composition appears as a field of wildflowers swaying during a breezy and sunny summer's day—the flower buds bumping alongside one another: the hypnotizing reflection of the bright sunlight.

Family portrait painting rendered in an abstract composition
"A Procession” 60 x 48 in, acrylic on canvas, 2022

In "A Roadmap," Forsberg likens a family portrait to a landscape by intersecting the composition with an inclining stretch of a black road. A misty mountain range with ghostly monuments of persons runs beside the winding road. Forsberg evokes an illusionary oscillation of the scenes conveying an allegory of a journey or longing to be home.

Family portrait painting with landscape-like composition
“A Roadmap” 60 x 48 in, acrylic on canvas, 2021

In "Currents," Forsberg divides the composition into three parts. In the foreground is a lone child immersed in a ruby-red field. The middle ground is composed of directional strokes of layered colors and plant-like shapes that slowly appear as a mirage image of figures on opposite trails. On the upper right corner is a recurring checkered pattern seen throughout her works.

Painting informed by family portrait rendered with landscape in background
“Currents” 60 x 48 in, acrylic on canvas, 2022

Forsberg steers from a portraiture style to a more abstract in rendering the composition, which indicates the sequence of different images flashing within a subconscious mind. 

Forsberg's paintings are not simply images; they are a sensation. Similar to that of awakening to the sun upon your eyes. The transition of the image of the mind to that of reality. Images to reflect upon. Of people and places. Not quite clear. Pieced together with another. Memories that hold us. A solace of the mind.

Note: These works were included in the exhibition, Becoming alongside artists Kwesi O. Kwarteng, and Layqa Nuna Yawar. Click here for the exhibition detail. 

Matilda Forsberg's studio practice is based in Newark, NJ. She has exhibited throughout New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. Forsberg has been a recipient of the city of Newark’s Creative Catalyst Grant 2023, the Newark Art Accelerator grant by Project for Empty Space, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2021, and NJ council on the arts, 2024. She has been featured in the New American Paintings publication Feb/Mar 2023. Residency programs include the 2021 Liquitex Residency and Fourchette de Roze in the Ivory Coast, 2023.


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