Linnea Strid’s Release

Linnea Strid is an artist based out of Stockholm, Sweden, with a passion and eye for realism. Her work consists of precise detailing of the world around her, perfectly defining reflections, light, and shadow. Strid focuses on the intricacies of exterior faces that expose the inner psyche – both human and animal. She specifically paints water and its interactions with people to show her talent in painting both realistic and emotional scenes.

The intricate details of this piece named Tear Me Apart (glicee print, 2015), are stunning, from the translucence of the woman’s hair as it sticks to her eye and brow, to each individual freckle and droplet of water that dots her face. The half of the woman’s face that viewers see is bathed in light, while shadowed parts of her creep outside the frame – it exposes her in her sadness, in what would normally be a very private moment. She does not directly face the viewer, her eyes closed and brow furrowed with deep thought and melancholy. The water serves to intensify this woman’s strong emotions as she despairs, streaming down her face in tear-like tracts. But perhaps it also ushers in the honesty of her emotions that we see, to encourage a release of what she really feels, a baptism of her unmasked, honest self.

In a time when so often people are expected to remain content, smiling, and ever-happy, Strid’s portraits, full of emotions that so many of us hold inside, reveal another side that often remains hidden. Viewers are given a window into an intimate moment of intense emotion that most would hide from others. As a result, we may scrutinize or empathize with this woman as we wish. In this woman’s private moment of isolation and anguish there is the reminder that we also may join her in an honest expression of the self, releasing our innermost feelings.

What does this painting make you feel?