These acrylic paintings by Allan Otte have a bold, graphical quality that seems to draw as much inspiration from the world of digital art as it does from traditional painting. The thought-provoking images show the otherwise beautiful Scandinavian landscape as a setting for accidents and destruction.
Otte’s precise and unusual style involves masking off some areas before painting the adjoining ones, creating hard edges. There are a multitude of shades of the same colour in each section. Instead of more natural brush strokes, the artist uses thin, perfectly straight, vertical and horizontal lines. In a few cases, these lines are in concentric circles. These techniques make the areas appear almost pixelated or digitized, in some instances. Other areas of the picture — particularly the cloud-filled skies — use airbrushing, which offers a very different, more blended look. It appears soft and blurry in comparison to the over-sharp areas.
The paintings are of depressing scenes; they most often show vehicle accidents and dead animals. There are school buses and cars stuck in snow drifts, overturned tractor-trailers spilling their loads, fallen trees and broken wind turbines, and dead crows and single shoes left in a road. However, the bright colours and painting style make the resulting images less graphically disturbing than they could be. The rural landscapes appear otherwise empty of anything but farmland and nature. Though the pictures are obviously the aftermath of an accident, we often aren’t directly shown the “blood and guts” or the human element (either victims or any rescue personnel).
Both the style and subject matter offer these strange combinations — blurry and over-sharp, tragic and beautiful — which I think prove to be meaningful.