(born 1962, lives and works in Jämsänkoski, Finland)
While living in South America for 3,5 years, Rytkönen learned not only Spanish but also body language. The war in Colombia forced the artist to observe the environment and threatening situations by people’s faces and gestures.
Often in Rytkönen’s paintings, human being – a person – carries much of the idea of the work. Feelings of painting appear in the body as movement or as small expressions in the position of the wrist, neck, ankle or hips. Or maybe in the hair. Facial expressions, or sometimes deliberate facial invisibility and unnatural colors are something that is not meant to be worded.
Even if the painting is landscaped, there is also a person involved: in the part of the viewer, in the experience, in the observation, in the encounter, thinking. The mystical or symbolic tone in the painting is more important to Rytkönen than the documentary of nature or portrait.
Ilona Rytkönen has chosen her color palettes often quite monochromatically, which may create to the art work unreality level, and so would offer to the viewer and to herself more imaginable thoughts . Occasionally, during the painting process, a surprisingly colorful color can appear in the painting, which also amazes and confuses the artist herself. Reflections on whether the surprising colors remain in the final painting or whether they should be hidden are the most interesting moments in her painting processes.
Rytkönen’s main technique is oil painting on canvas and soft pastel painting. Occasionally ink, pencil, and wood drawing techniques are also used.
Rytkönen started as a full-time painter and contemporary artist in 2004 after graduating from the Orivesi College of Fine Arts. She has also studied at the Open University of the University of Art and Design Helsinki (Taik), the Free Art School, the Pekka Halonen Academy and several other art courses since 1978, most recently the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s portrait painting course in Turku in 2011.
In an essay written in September 2012, art critic Hannu Castrén describes Rytkönen’s art style as Magical realism. Hannu Castrén’s essay writing about the artist can be found at the end of the artist’s Biography page on her website http://www.ilonas.fi/biografia.html
Rytkönen has had several domestic solo exhibitions since 2003, as well as joint and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad, such as Rio de Janeiro, Osaka, New York, and Florida (and Berlin in 2019).
Ilona Rytkönen is a member of the Jyväskylä Artists ‘Association since 2011 and was a member of its Board of Directors from 2015 to 2016. She is a candidate member of the Finnish Painters’ Association since 2012. In 2016 and 2017 he has been a member of the Finnish Artists’ Association (STS) as an elected representative of the Association of Finnish Fine Art Organizations (SKjL).
In 2018 she received a grant from the Arts Promotion Center of Finland (Taike).