Other Works

On Canvas

Exhibitions & CV


22.2.–12.3.2023 Identiteetti – Identity, Galleria 5, Oulu

8.3.–26.3.2023 Lasimöykyn aikakirjat – Glass Block Chronicles, Art Center Ahjo, Joensuu

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 Toinen vaihe – Another Phase, Galleria Napa, Rovaniemi

The exhibition is a meeting of two originally separate work phases that gradually fold around each other.

For several years I have painted mainly on paper. Alongside strong colours and clear shapes a crucial part of my artwork has been the feel of the material: the both sides of paper, its wrinkling, folding and straightening. Many times I have allowed the paper itself, its tendencies, to affect my process of painting. The paintings I made in the late winter of 2021 have a map-like shape. You may see plain abstract cell tissues as well as sketches of places and terrains being shaped by humans’ actions.

In the summer of 2021 I started to explore new paints – self-made natural colours and inks. I did this playfully (I carried out an art workshop of natural colours with my daughter) but also with climate anxiety and an effort to avoid plastic which drove me to find more ecological options.

When a material or a tool is new to you, it surprises you many times and carries to sometimes unpredictable outcomes. Little by little you get acquainted with it and the new material or tool becomes symbiotic with your previous knowledge. It becomes a part of your expression – which also transforms in the process. I think this is what has happened and is happening when I’m fiddling with these plant-based colours.

One of the exhibition’s most recent pieces, Kuparireittejä (Copper Routes), which is also pictured in the poster, places us again on the map.

I want to thank Arts Promotion Centre Finland for supporting my work.

Galleria Napa | Kairatie 3, Rovaniemi | 050 406 3632

Avoinna / Open
ti-to / tue-thu 12-18
pe / fri 11-17
la / sat 12-6
su-ma suljettu / sun-mon closed

2021 Kuinka mantereet muotoutuvat – How the Continents Take Form, Galleria Harmaja, Oulu

I have painted mostly on paper for several years. Maybe it all started from the un-objectlike lightness and easily packable logistic dexterity of paper, but little by little paper’s own pliable, three-dimensional transforming character has risen above those qualities. To wrinkle, to fold, to roll up, to straighten out… many times I allow these characteristics affect the process of my painting work.

I have been fascinated by the essential nature of a sheet of paper as a page, and by its being as a part of a bigger wholeness: a stack, a book, an archive. I have painted many two-sided works. I think that even when the other side is not to be seen, in a way the work includes movement and a thought of turning the sheet. The painting manifests itself differently than just a single static piece which you hang on the wall.

I use a lot of bright primary colours - those, which you might call blue, yellow and red. Seeing pure colours delights me, as if they cleansed my eyes and my mind. For me the colours of a painting are different than the realism of the colours in the surroundings. On the other hand I also like a little suspicious combinations of colours. Those, of which you can’t quite say if they are good or just plain terrible. There’s no need to be too posh.

In my reduced, fairly abstract works I often deal with observations and memories relating to places and spaces. Recently my works have been kind of sketches of a city or a planet as well as the experience of existence in these places and reflecting from and into them. Many of my paintings have a map-like form.

Some of my works have also been affected by these unusual times, where isolation is day-to-day and touching public surfaces may be questionable.

The past has its part in hanging this exhibition. One of the exciting places in my childhood was a small acoustic room covered with perforated hardboard. It was almost nothing more than a closet and its walls were papered with posters, including especially splendid Polish ones and one photo-based Áilu Valkeapää in red and blue. I’m convinced that this place has affected my visual ideals. I still like things made of paper - the feel of paper - and it shows in the hanging of my exhibition.

I want to thank the City of Oulu and Arts Promotion Centre Finland for supporting my work.

2019 Summer of the Blue Wader — studio exhibition and site-specific project, Oulu

Observations, discoveries and side-tracks on the beach of Pikisaari in summer 2019.

During this summer The Blue Wader Case has been my site-specific working process on the beach of Pikisaari, Oulu, as a part of the Pikinen Poloku environmental art exhibition. In addition to the beach I’ve been working with the same themes in my studio in Vanha Villatehdas (the Old Wool Factory).

In mid-August I’ll build an exhibition / installation for four days from the material I’ve made and found so far. The combination includes paintings, drawings, photographs, objects. Clay, sand, glass...

2019 I carried this picture — paintings and paperworks, Galerie Pleiku, Berlin

A piece of advice for those taking a journey: Bring only what you truly need.

In its unique way my exhibition is a part of that endless buzzing, where we humans — from an adequate distance the size of ants — carry our baggage on this planet here and there for a variety of reasons.

Many of the pieces of the exhibition are really nothing more than cropping and framing to events: images without images. They are surfaces for remembering and recalling. They may also be peepholes or secret windows to look through. For the first time, and again. Light and colour is what they are made of.

These works have also been affected by those pocket-sized cardboard cases with oval-shaped or rounded windows on the cover — they used to hold collages of photos of various cities and were maybe once meant to be souvenirs.

2018 Teoksia paperille | Verk på papper | Works on Paper, Gallery Katariina’s Studio, Helsinki

My exhibition is an entity that can be carried under one’s arm. It travels on a hat rack of a train and then unfolds as a painting installation in a space. Paintings on paper mainly with acrylic and aquarelle colours accompanied by some folds.

The starting points of my pieces are, for example, stacks of mattress pads, the colour of an old sleeping bag and those shade-thriven misleading things that make one paint also something transparent and crystal-like when trying to reach them.

2018 Arkki – paintings, Myllykirjasto, Tyrnävä

ARKKI (Engl. sheet, ark, archaeon) was a solo exhibition with paintings in the library of Tyrnävä.

2017 First Light, ARTtila, Oulu

First Light – Paintings after Winter

2016 Contact – Tuntuma, Galleria kajaste, Oulu

Moments on no-man’s-land

New paintings. Wandering from late winter through spring and summer, ending up here.

As I started my journey I had a memory, which now I could call a map. It’s folded to the size of a small envelope, fragile when opened, red carbon paper full of small crosses. This paper, which I once found and which has intrigued me ever since, is my mother’s old embroidery pattern, a script for stitches. It has been an instrument of chores, and doesn’t really have anything to do with the world of art, but the tradition of craft and decoration. Being that, by accident, it is also a beautiful minimalistic drawing.

A theme of crosses and lattices inspired by this map or pattern recurs in many pieces of my collec-tion, and decorativeness meets plain lines also in my fringe paintings. Otherwise the scenery is changing. The red and blue dream scenery in the beginning of the journey turns into light terrain, whose paths are embroided by fallen petals. A petal is a drop, a tear, and two petals often settle as a pair of eyes, a new gaze.

As a summary, this exhibition is about the beginning and the end, and something in between. About life, that is. The small studies of colours are also called No-man’s-land. Through the history the col-ours have been, and still are, symbols of many things: countries, ideas… From the painting point of view they are however also entirely free from any meanings loaded into them, and a painter can use them in various combinations happily, enjoying. The colours belong to freedom! I like especially the bright spectra of rainbow scale.

2015 Galleria Luoto, Hailuoto

2013 Kemi Art Museum (together with Christelle Mas)

2010 Galleria Uusi Kipinä/Kenno, Lahti

2010 Galleria Katariina, Helsinki

2009 Galleria Napa, Rovaniemi

2007 Galleria 5, Oulu

2005 Galleria Jangva, Helsinki

2001 Galleria Jangva, Helsinki

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022–2023 Luonnosta – From Nature, group exhibition, Valvegalleria, Oulu

Luonnosta – From Nature is a group exhibition curated by the Oulu Artists Association. The six artists are Janne Erkkilä, Ulla Harju, Leena Kangas, Ilona Kivijärvi, Anja Kurikka and Tiina Seppälä.

2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 Pikinen Poloku, environmental art exhibition, Oulu

2021 Täyttymys (Fulfillment), a collaborative project, Tyrnävä
Fulfillment is a complete work of art through which we search answers to questions occupying our minds. For an artist their work is often an enormous joy and pleasure. It’s something one can’t live without. For us, too. Alongside this personal experience often gape big questions about the justification of making art and about its meaning more broadly.

In the process of Fulfillment we want to think over the starting points of making art and why making art is meaningful. Why can’t we stop creating art?

What are the living conditions of art (and the artist)? Is creating art important, if it makes us sell and buy artistic contents and keep the wheels of economy turning? Is the importance of art in raising questions about society, ecology and morals? Should art increase health and wellbeing? What can be changed by the means of art? Does art have an absolute value?

We want to believe that discussing starting points of creating art has a more broad value in questions about meaningfulness of life and manners of life.

Fulfillment will start with an open reading group in Tyrnävä library in October 2020. The purpose of the group is to offer a platform to asking and considering questions. Our working team will choose books which we think have something to offer to debate about the meaningfulness of making art. The reading group will also contain a blog which will be an open platform for discussion. The participation of the working team maintains the thought of studying each individual view of what’s meaningful artwork and reading is a part of the piece of art we work on.

In June 2021 we’ll build an exhibition by working name of Fulfillment in a potato hall. This will be the third “Spud hall” exhibition. The previous ones were in 2014 and 2015 with a slightly different concept. Related to the exhibition we’ll prepare a Summer school, which is open to everyone. In the Summer school we’ll have artists and art philosophers outside our working team to debate the art-related questions we’re considering. We’ll look for viewpoints on contemporary art. What can be contemporary art in all: is it lingering on the frontiers?

The team of Fulfillment: Pia Hentunen, Jari Haavikko, Eija Hirvonen & Leena Kangas

2019 Galleria Myötätuuli, Raahe

2018 Alusta, Värinä Gallery, Rovaniemi

2017 Under the Red Sky, Valvegalleria, Oulu

2017 Lapua Museum of Art

2016 K2 Plugged, Galleria 23 Heiskari, Liminka

2016 All in Valsa!, Galleria Värinä, Rovaniemi

2016 Works on Paper, Gallerija Dlul, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2015 Border, Galleria Pihatto, Lappeenranta

2015 Vilho Lampi Museum, Liminka

2015 1000 den vol. 2, contemporary art in an empty potato hall, Tyrnävä

2014 Galleria Uusi Kipinä, Lahti

2014 Hentunen, Kangas & Lamminen, Galleria Värinä, Rovaniemi

2014 1000 den, contemporary art in an empty potato hall, Tyrnävä

2014 Snowball Effect, 2nd Northern Finland Biennale, Rovaniemi Museum of Art

2011 Mail Art by Hildegard Project, Harakka, Helsinki (FI) and Former Iraqi Embassy, Berlin (DE)

2010 Deep Surface, Irvall, Kangas & Sunila, Galleri Kakelhallen, Mariehamn, Åland

2009 Recycling, Riihimäki Art Museum, Riihimäki

2009 Nature Morte, O. Jauhiainen Museum, Kiiminki

2009 Room for Five, Oulu, Finland (9 artists in an exhibition at a private home)

2008 Sillat – Broar – Bridges, the Exhibition of the International Artists´ Symposium arranged by the Finnish Painters´ Union, Turku

2006 Oulu Province Regional Exhibition, Oulu Museum of Art

2005 Colouring Book, Titanik Gallery, Turku and Cable Gallery, Helsinki

2002–2003 Oulu Province Regional Exhibition, Oulu Museum of Art / Kajaani Museum of Art

2000 The 105th Annual Exhibition of Finnish Artists, Kunsthalle, Helsinki



Leena Kangas

Visual Artist, Painter, Art Critic
Born 1963
Lives and works in Oulu, Finland
+358 44 560 0698
leenax.kangas (at) pp.inet.fi
Instagram @leenakangas
Studio at Vanha Villatehdas
Artist Register / Kuvataiteilijamatrikkeli

A picture and its description.
They both interest me.
I'm a painter, but I also write about art.
When I paint, I am quite speechless.
An astonished fool.