Trude Viken: Unmasked

M+is pleased to present Unmasked, an exhibition of new paintings by Trude Viken, the Oslo-based artist’s first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition runs from September 14 through October 12, 2019, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 14 from 6 to 8 pm. This show marks the Los Angeles debut for Viken.

When I have bad days, I know that most people also have them. Those days, hours or minutes are part of our life. We keep smiling happily and seem untouched to those around us. In the end we only fool ourselves. The difficulty of showing those tough sides of life makes me curious. This gives me a desire to continue. . .” —Trude Viken

Viken’s paintings describe the human psyche in bold and unflinching terms. On view is a selection of the artist’s small format works from her Diary Notes series. Originally intended as a visual daybook of self-portraits, over time it has evolved into a larger body of paintings that explore the medium's ability to convey interior moods and fantasies. The exhibition also showcases new large-scale paintings by Viken that have never before been shown in the US.

Trude Viken embraces the materiality of oil paint; she works intuitively, twisting and kneading the paint in thick layers to render her darkly funny emotional landscapes. With virtuoso gestural brushstrokes and impasto scrapes and smears, her portraits seduce the viewer through their psychological penetration. In the larger canvases, the effect is compounded through scale and charged group dynamics. Shapes are sculpted out of the heavy layers of pigment, and through the maze of marks emerge penetrating stares and alluring smirks that betray the horror and humor of human frailty.


Trude Viken (b. 1969, Lødingen, Norway) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. Viken has exhibited extensively in Norway and in 2018 debuted her work to American audiences at Fortnight Institute in New York. Unmasked is Viken’s first solo show at M+B.