In case of each artist, possessing a clearly recognizable “handwriting”, one should sometimes ask: can this specific “handwriting” still inspire, won’t there occur repetitions, won’t there emerge a desire to try something else? Shouldn’t creation that is connected to creative freedom, random inspiration, random ideas be actually a v o i d i n g developing a specific “handwriting”? Yes, sometimes this question is exactly to the point. But sometimes this creates the kind of error that has well been described by an American philosopher: people think that handwriting and contents are two different things. But things under discussion are always different and in such a case also the handwriting should not remain unchanged.
For years Mari Roosvalt has already received her creational inspiration from Estonia, Åland, now from Italy, her dreamland. Let’s pay attention: all artists travel, but not at all everybody introduces travel expressions into his/ her creation. Roosvalt does. As a long-time passionate photographer, she takes shots of small details, being characteristic to different places: shots of stairs, bridges, windows. She develops, fixes, develops and fixes once more and thereafter glues the photo onto a clean canvas. From here on starts something that could carelessly be compared with improvisation in music: the painter improvises with colours on the given theme (a detail in Rome) a random and impetuous theme handling. And then in the same manner from picture to picture, from trip to trip, from year to year. The handwriting is clear.
So – what is Roosvalt telling us about and how is she doing it? Such question should not be asked. Because this question separates “what” and “how”. We can not pick two different roads and try to put Roosvalt’s picture together like a jigsaw puzzle: the work is telling us about Italy, but it is doing so through an impetuous play of colours. This work tells us of the windows of Åland, but does so through sensitive blue. One has to understand that this sensitive blue and this impetuous play of colours actually a r e the meaning of Roosvalt’s works. The artist does not do anything occasionally. When her Italian impressions are commented by impetuous yellow hues, then this is the meaning of the painting: Italy is connected with the yellow colour that is brisk, full of life, bright. When classical pillars are surrounded by something very non classical, then this actually is the contents of works by Roosvalt: contradiction, contrast, slight misunderstanding.
Yes, certainly Roosvalt belongs to the list of Estonian much travelled artists, to Konrad Mägi’s Oberstdorf, Ilmar Malin’s Asian and Valdur Ohaka’s Karelian series. Yes, she certainly spreads her travel expressions as a sensitive colourist. Yes, she is certainly very good at contradicting the objectiveness and preciseness of a photo to the subjectivity and randomness of a painting. But all of these are just formalistic categories. The only thing that is not being formalistic – this is the form of paintings by Roosvalt.