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Susanne Aaltonen: Knowing How Little I Need Her Now

Updated: May 15, 2019

By Anne Ewen, Curator of Art & Heritage


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Susanne Aaltonen, My Time with her is Limited (1&2), 2018, acrylic, charcoal, and family photographs on wood panel, 30" x 24", collection of the artist, courtesy of Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary


Susanne Aaltonen: Knowing How Little I Need Her Now

Rummel Room


Susanne Aaltonen is a Canadian artist currently living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Through various levels of concealment, her work confronts generations of dysfunction and trauma within her family. Aaltonen’s sketch books articulate her distress within the family in written and drawn form while her paintings delve into the layers of angst. Multiple coats of various colours are applied and dried onto wooden painting panels. A photographic image is then imprinted onto the painted surface and sealed with an acrylic medium. Carefully and with deliberate precision, Aaltonen then begins to carve and etch into the surface. By using various sizes of gouging tools the ensuing effect is suggestive of a physical and emotional erosion.


Susanne Aaltonen, My Time with her is Limited (1&2), 2018, acrylic, charcoal, and family photographs on wood panel, 30" x 24", collection of the artist, courtesy of Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary

Of her work the artist writes: “…exposing what’s buried underneath reflects a superficial attempt to unearth and further understand the trauma. Initially understood as an attempt to analyze the dynamic within my family, the act of carving begins to resemble more of a meditative act that leads towards reluctance. The resulting work evokes the uneasy balance between seeking reconciliation and the emotional burden of such an attempt.”

Aaltonen received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2016 and in 2017 she was part of the Banff Artist in Residency (BAiR) for Emerging Artists at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. As a nod to her artistic commitment and expression, Aaltonen was recently signed by Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary.


Part of our spring exhibitions, the exhibition, Susanne Aaltonen: Knowing How Little I Need Her Now will run until June 9, 2019.


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111 Bear Street, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1A3, Canada

T: 1 403 762 2291   

E: info [at] whyte.org

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The Whyte Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of The Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

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