“Kristi’s brilliant work, so pure and emotional, projects the scope, the scale, the per-spective of grand space. When I look at her paintings I feel as if I am breathing the air, with no end to the canvas.” Bev Weismann, Iowa City, IA, USA
All these oils on canvas have been painted since 2005 and exhibited in Norway at a number of galleries. The majority are now in private collections throughout southern Norway.
The first seven paintings are examples of work Kristi Ylvisaker did while in college. The bust and the self-portraits were created while a graduate student. The next group were painted while she lived and studied at Woodstock in 1968 and in New York City 1969-1970. The final two paintings were done during her early years in Norway.
“Everyone Wants Kristi on Their Walls,” the headline proclaimed. And what people want on their walls are the colorful paintings that have become Kristi Ylvisaker’s signature work. These were painted between 1985 and 2004.
Kristi Ylvisaker has illustrated with drawings three published books: A Time for Peace, For Everything A Season: 75 Blessings for Daily Life, and Beyond the Dead End: A Memoir. In addition, drawings of farm animals have appeared in many of her exhibits.
“The daily round on the farm has given me knowledge of the labor and life my great grandmother must have lived,” Kristi wrote about this exhibition created for the 150th anniversary of the major emigration of Norwegians from their homeland.
“Family Portraits,” created in 1999 in collaboration with Joan Stuart Ross, Seattle, WA, artist, as a follow-up to “Foremothers,” was exhibited across Norway before being shipped to the United States where it toured in 2000. This page features a number of Kristi Ylvisaker’s contributions to the exhibit.
Kristi Ylvisaker watched as workmen carved a tunnel through the mountain just across the lake from their farm. The tunnel became for her a metaphor for the painful physical process one goes through giving birth and metaphorically the process of creative or psychological birth. Here are seven of the nine paintings comprising the series.
Created in collaboration with her sister, writer Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen, and based on the poetry of Denise Levertov, "Nude Truths," through 24 large paintings, leads the viewer on a cycle from innocence, into the dark places of life, and out into awe.
A recurring theme in Kristi Ylvisaker’s drawings, since she began using her farm animals as models, is inspired by the cave paintings of Lascaux and Chauvet in France. An exhibit of these drawings traveled to the United States in 1995. She has turned the cellar under her home into an ancient cave and also has cave murals in her gallery. In addition, she did a commissioned cave spa in Des Moines, IA.
In 2000 the L.C. Lions Sogndal Løvetann commissioned Kristi Ylvisaker to paint one of the area historical churches. They created greeting cards from the painting, which they sold to aid charity. They also auctioned off the painting. For three more years they had paintings made of the other area historical churches, and after that suggested themes for the paintings.