EEMIL KARILA: Harvesting Light

16 February - 10 March 2024

Eemil Karila’s works depict the energy, movement, light and power of nature, devoid of human presence. Karila’s paintings are born out of his experiences in nature and the memories formed from them. The paintings occupy the middle ground between expressive landscape and abstraction. They do not represent specific places or times, but seek out the essence of life in nature, and show its endless changes. Karila has chosen to erase humans from his works, and hopes that his paintings will make us forget the anthropocentric world and our sense of disconnection from other living beings.


Karila compares his method of painting to gardening: after watering, the colours grow on the wet brown linen canvas like seeds from soil. He paints directly onto unprimed linen, to which he first applies copious amounts of water, and then paints with tempera and ink on the wet surface. Once the fabric has dried, he applies paint in thick brushstrokes, and then adds oil paint on top of that using sticks and his fingers.


Karila’s style has features in common with painters of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and with post-impressionism, in which nature was often depicted with strong, complementary colours. But the ecocritique embodied in his works firmly anchors them in the present day.


Eemil Karila’s long career includes more than 30 solo exhibitions and numerous collective exhibitions around the world, for instance, in Germany, Estonia, Sweden, Brazil and Venezuela. Karila, who lived for a long time in Berlin, has since made his home in his old hometown of Rovaniemi. His works are in the collections of Rovaniemi and Tampere Art Museums, Wihuri Foundation, Aune Laaksonen, Tornio’s Aine Art Museum, the Miettinen Collection in Berlin, and elsewhere.