When Words Get Tired


Matti Sirvio’s current exhibition When Words Get Tired is on view at the artist’s gallery is Muscat, Oman.  With this collection of works, Sirvio expresses his observations of society and the larger, deeper messages that don’t sink in.  With the increasing pace of life and technology has come the gradual loss of the weight of words, and in a world saturated with imagery, the weight of symbols and signifiers.  “As the world seems to be spinning faster and faster, pictures have to fight for people’s attention.  Yes, the modern culture is described as visual, but is it really?” Sirvio questions.  “Very few people have any capacity to look at Rothko’s paintings.  They have too much undefined room in them.”

Our digital devices leave us less and less space, pulling us away from contemplating present, undefined moments and into social media, ads, and images.  Sirvio’s artwork does not bow to this cultural change.  The artist continues to work from a removed, spiritual place.  He calls these works the imprint of the Divine on his heart, “God’s handwriting on the walls of my private chambers.”  His subtle dimensionality in color and shape remains strong, making statements both emotive and beyond this world.  The theme of the exhibition is meditations on life and death, the before and after.  “The Storm is Passing Over” depicts two planes, the higher one shades of the underbelly of a lightening cloud, the lower is thick.  The grey-blue hues are solid and muddy.  The image could be interpreted as the earth, solid and receiving, and the quality of movement above in the heavens.  The meeting of eternal life and the form that ends in death, the before and after.

“Tired Words” is a fiery piece, like the orange tip of a flame exploding with golden hues.  Darker elements bare a defiance.  Is it the emotion of the words that still know their weight, the symbols with unmoving meaning?  With eyes hovering above our phones, we scan written words and skip entire paragraphs.  We scroll through images and bypass symbols in search of more.  Like these dark shapes, they haven’t lost their meaning.  We have lost our ability to receive it.  When Words Get Tired invites you to rest your gaze and meet the work with your own emotions and experiences.  The exhibition welcomes prolonged interaction as one searches for meaning.

Sirvio cites “Zeitgeist as being a moving piece in the particular collection of works for him.  It touches on the country the he affectionately calls home: Oman.  “The central piece of this show is a big painting called ‘Zeitgeist.’  It’s a reflection of my observations in Oman today.  The country is seeking her identity sometimes from the unknown past, sometimes from the unpredictable future.  There is a battle raging for people’s souls.  The invisible powers are like a huge magnet pulling people to all directions.”
To view When Words Get Tired type Matti Sirvio Galleria into Google Maps.  There you will find directions to the gallery space in the mountains of Al Amarat, Oman.  The exhibition is on view until March 31st.






Matti Sirvio, painter, pastor, and humanitarian aid worker, has started a new venture.  He has opened an artist-run, as yet untitled, gallery space.  Off the beaten path in Muscat, Oman, the upcoming show is titled POSTE RESTANTE.  The name refers of a post office that holds onto mail until recipients call to receive it.  Strategically placed outside of the town center, the gallery is a place that people must seek out.  “You go there through an exotic mountain road until you finally reach this newly built suburb area called Al Amrat.  Wild donkeys walk by.  In the evening, the lonely moon shines over the surrounding mountains.  Not one person could accidentally stumble in here. Only those who cannot live without art will find it,” he says.  Tucked away on the outskirts of Muscat, the gallery doesn’t have an official address.  Visitors can type ‘Matti Sirvio Art Galleria’ into Google Maps to get directions. “I want people to come with an expectation to see if they ‘got some mail.’” Alluding to the name of exhibition, he hopes that people will seek and find a special connection to a piece of artwork.

The name POSTE RESTANTE speaks to Sirvio on multiple levels.  It holds the elements of adventure and searching, and also temporality.  These traits are reflective of his paintings.  Sirvio’s artwork captures the emotion within fleeting moments, meditating on the ephemeral qualities of life with joy and gratitude.  His current works in the gallery “contribute to deeper thoughts, a lot of hope and joy for the coming Christmas season.”

Transience is a part of life for Sirvio.  While he calls Oman home, he is originally from Finland.  He has lived, worked, and travelled throughout Central Asia, nations formerly part of the Soviet Union, and the Middle East.  Even though he returns to Oman, he doesn’t stay in one place for too long.  “With the gallery, I hope to travel less, but I’m afraid this is just wishful thinking,” he says.  “I have a show planned in Europe for March and another one [in Muscat] for the fall.  Besides that, I do continue visiting our churches in Central Asia and the Middle-East.”  While Sirvio’s work is “very rewarding” the frequent travel can be challenging.  “May God give me more wisdom on how to plan my schedule.”  You can keep up with the artist here:



POSTE-RESTANTE will be on view from December 16, 2017-January 16, 2018.

(Originally posted on INTLFineArtFund.com)

Matti Sirvio

Matti Sirvio encounter-900


In Matti Sirvio’s paintings there is time and space, the movement of the soul.  His paintings simultaneously celebrate the felt senses, the beauty in life, and the nature of a spiritual existence. “I think that colors and their composition are the key to all visual communication.  I love connecting them, experimenting the way that they relate to each other.  I sometimes do just long color meditations (sounds much more weird than it is.)”  With his eyes closed, Sirvio spends time envisioning colors and diverse patterns.  “It helps me to move objects and see how certain colors serve certain messages.”

On Sirvio’s Instagram account, it is sometimes hard to tell what is a painting and what is a photo.  The play of shadow and light on a building, cast-off objects in the sand, appear at first to be Sirvio’s painted works.  Upon closer inspection, you see that they are all pieces of the quiet town of Muscat, Oman.  In compositions that most people can witness every day without reverence, the artist sees more.

For over thirty-five years, Sirvio has been a humanitarian worker through Greater Grace World Outreach (GGWO) in Eurasia and Central Asia.  While he treasures the many places that he has lived in, Oman is now home.  “I fell in love with the Omani people.  They are very gentle, silent and friendly. For some foreigners, this country is eventless and even boring.  For me it’s a privilege.”  Fourteen years ago, he attended a conference on Mumbai, India.  Through contacts there, the opportunity to work in Oman presented itself.  It would take some years for Sirvio’s schedule to allow for him to work in Oman with GGWO.  When he was able to visit for a conference, he also found a place for his artwork.  “I was invited by the Protestant Church of Oman to do a weekend conference in Muscat.  I often travel with my art and also work in hotel rooms during my travels.  I took some of my paintings to a local gallery and connected with them.  That resulted in a solo exhibition here.”

“My artistic journey has its intensive creative times and long times of silence as well.”  Sirvio was born and raised in Finland where he studied art.  He originally wanted to purse becoming an art therapist.  But, as a young man he felt called to humanitarian work and as an artist, he felt disconnected from the art world.  “As a young person, I found the art world to be extremely selfish and self-oriented.  Besides that, I had a really hard time connecting with all the perverted art that started spreading in the seventies.  I didn’t want to be a part of it.”  Deep into his journey as a humanitarian worker art would re-emerge for him in a way that was healing.  “Twenty-seven years later I was full of art again. I just had to start painting.  I didn’t have a choice.  It didn’t just make me happy, but it helped me to manage my soul.  Art is not the most important thing in my life, the presence of God is.  Art is a helper.”

The painting “Encounter” communicates a spiritual way of experiencing what comes and goes.  The spiritual is a constant, a thread woven through every part of life.  The soul need not suffer when something meaningful ends, but have joy for the impression that was left and for the meaningful encounters that will also come and go in the future.

Two figures are in the shape of doorways, each one emitting some of kind of movement.  The one on the left appears to contain light, while the shape on the right is red.  The light feels like a spiritual force, while the red is earthy, human.  The two are open to each other to mingle, to merge, but the temporal of nature of the “Encounter” implies that they will each return to their spaces and close their doors.

These colors and symbols illustrate the nature of an encounter from a spiritual perspective.  A person can form a lasting attachment to an experience after it has passed, returning to themselves, yet remaining somehow changed.  Also, the joy of the peak of the moment does not have to turn into despair because it ends.  If there is more to life than moments, then there is no need to mourn what is lost but celebrate what remains and what will be part of the never-ending life of the soul.

In Sirvio’s paintings, there are dreams, prayers, scents, and sensations.  The artist is a deeply spiritual person who clearly has a reverence for life.  “I love all the places where I have lived. God gives you a special love for it. Without that I could not see myself connecting with other cultures and people.”  He is writing a book about the GGWO ministry Central Asia and paints in his spare time.  “I continue dragging my paintings all over the world, exhibiting them wherever I can and praying that I could reach one more person with the love of Jesus.”