Erna Aaltonen: The work of Erna Aaltonen (1951) is marked by a supremely elegant conceptual minimalism, combining form, color and surface structure into one continuous whole. The deliberate simplicity of her pieces combined with the deep colours represent for numerous international collectors the quintessence of contemporary Finnish aesthetics.
Using coarse stoneware clay for the body and oxides rubbed on the outer surface to generate texture and pattern, she captures the moody hues and weather worn surfaces of the Finnish countryside. In a remarkable graphic play the carved lines dance and converge toward the summit of the object, infusing it with dynamic movement. The insides - in contrast - are smooth and the small opening on the top creates a suggestion of deeper secrets, almost as if the object hides an inner life.
Aaltonen uses neither the potter’s wheel nor molds. Instead her round, abstract sculptural forms are hand built layer by layer by adding thinly rolled ribbons of clay that are joined edge to edge.
With an almost deliberate rejection of ornamental profusion these masterpieces are best appreciated by running your fingers over the surface.