Ragna Bley

Ragna Bley (b. 1986, Uppsala, Sweden) is an artist based in Oslo working with painting, sculpture, text and performance. She explores the oscillation between the familiar and alien, looking to narratives within biology, literature and science-fiction.

Bley’s colours vacillate over the surface and seep into the canvas, intermixing like currents and creating infinite possibilities of grouping and regrouping form. Through this process, Bley traverses the relationship between abstraction and representation. She creates layers and transparencies that hint at familiar shapes and organic matter, though the visual associations that arise from Bley’s paintings are completely individual - and may at times resemble forms that are imperceptible to humans. Certain areas of Bley’s canvases are painted, while some are left bare, alluding to the instability of images, and more broadly, to the slippages between our frameworks of understanding.

Bley received her BFA at the National Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo, in 2011 and her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2015. Solo and two-person presentations include: Ragna Bley & Inger Ekdahl, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2020); Zooid, Kunsthuset Kabuso, Øystese (2018); Zooid, Kunsthall Oslo, Oslo (2017) and Lay Open, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin (2017). Selected group exhibitions include: The Hour of Reckoning, Henie Onstad Art Center, Bærum (2021); Tempo Tempo Tempo, Kistefosmuseet, Jevnaker (2019); The Moderna Exhibition 2018, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2018); The Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art, Kunsthall Oslo (2017); Nomadic Images, Museum of Applied Arts, Vilnius (2016). Her work is included in the permanent collections of David Roberts Art Foundation, London, Henie Onstad Art Center, Bærum, Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Kistefosmuseet, Jevnaker, Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo.

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