by Ariadna Zierold
Erik Thor Sandberg produces oil-on-canvas paintings centered on the expressive, allegorical power of the nude, harkening back to the origins of naturalism in painting and attuned to the history of his medium. Sandberg explores the intimate, uncanny connection between oil paint and human flesh and considers the figure to be painting’s most natural subject matter. Through it, he unflinchingly conveys the complexity of human nature.
Both beautiful and grotesque, the nude men and women populating Sandberg’s compositions are shown in dreamlike states, often suspended in the midst of impending actions: a woman wrestles with a bow-and-arrow; in an allegory for the sin of anger, a man readies a meat cleaver to rid himself of a fly at the risk of chopping off his own foot. These visceral allegories psychologically represent us we are: full of flaws and folly, hope and determination.