Norwegian graphic designer and artist Oscar Gronner translates the monotonous everyday to the page with childlike illustrations of adults. Beige backgrounds become depthless worlds where figures peer, lounge and excrete in dewy pastel hues– peach, white, green. As if Matisse’s “Blue Nude” cutout merged with the stop-motion bodies of Keith Haring, Gronner’s pencil lines are delicate and the shapes he makes with them, monolithic. There is quiet in the picture plane’s empty space, like listening to the instrumental version of a song. Gronner presents his work without titles or hints at any cardinal meaning, leaving the context of a man carrying transparent bags that reveal toilet paper, tabasco sauce and a cucumber, ambiguous. The images should be taken as simple and small moments in time.
Gronner himself is an elusive presence, revealing little personal information. At over 28,000 Instagram followers, the artist is popular for his work rather than personality. The immediacy of the platform is fitting for Gronner, his illustrations becoming small injections of calm. These solitary figures, in scenes recognizable but removed from obvious reality, run parallel to the escape we seek when scrolling through our phones. Users tag their friends on his images, conveying a universal accessibility: we can see ourselves as a triangle-headed person with dog paw hands, eating a hotdog but dreaming of a hamburger. We can identify with the man in biro-blue ink, who is pummeled by someone with a t-shirt reading “Monday.” Gronner’s work is humble in its minimalist form and honest in its subjects. In this clean and sweeping dream world, viewers connect to the aesthetic of melancholy.