Summer EveningGreen Self PortraitWooden HorseWooden Horse IIICompositionThree BrothersActor Leif JacobsenWith Dog and GlassesClapperHorseman and NestThe National Portraits: King and CowMirrorMeetingBoy with DogAbout Being a DuckLars Tiller ILars TillerLars Tiller on HorsebackThe JourneyTrophySelf Portrait with MallardRequiemThe EggPortrait of a HorsemanSymbiosisBoy on a ChairLieutenant GlahnEdvardaÆsopProfessor John UgelstadEdvardaEditor Arve SolstadArve Solstad IThe BranchThree Phases of TravelJourney in a Chair IWild Seedling IJourney in a ChairClapperMeeting ILate Night PartyStill LifeSelf Portrait in ChairJack RabbitHRH King Harald VH. M. King Harald VH. M. Kong Harald VH.M. Queen SonjaStill Life IStill Life I (detalj)Rut TellefsenEllen HornHenrik IbsenAir MattressBattle Scenesofa idyllRed SofaColosseum2005Peer Gynt 2007Peer GyntPeer GyntTerritory20072007201020102010201020102010HundCarlos IVLesende eselGoya, selvportrettDen som ikke kanFalk og klodeFløytespillerenKontorstol IPortrait of an equestrianAviator IThe Birds of Gaza2009200820092009200920092009Requiem for the children of Gaza 2009The Collection2009Ramzi AburedwanFamily PortraitGuardians of the SecretThe TreeMøte IGutt med hundA New MeetingJente med falk IJente med falk II2011 Parafrase2011 ParafraseCarlos IV, Paraphrase over GoyaAugust Von MackensenInfante Francisco De Paula Antonio Ludwig I of BavariaCrown Prince Rudolf of Austria-HungaryLouis XVInfanta Maria Teresa, Paraphrase  over Velazquez The children of Charles I, Paraphrase of Van DyckDon Fernando, parafrase over GoyaWenche FossNils Aas KunstverkstedNils Aas KunstverkstedNils Aas KunstverkstedNils Aas KunstverkstedPhoto: Henning Lystad/Nils Aas Kunstverksted.
His own expression

The works from Gullvåg’s youth bear witness to an early maturity, both formally and with regard to content. In his first years at the academy he experimented with non-figurative, abstract expressions, and used colour in such a way as to limit figurative tendencies. Yet because he never felt at home with this expression, he moved early on in the direction of figuration. With figuration he had a greater opportunity to apply his drawing skills, and demonstrated a particular ability for capturing the motif’s distinctive character in just a few brush strokes. The paintings are still marked by the strong Trøndelag-tradition for abstract and non-figurative art, particularly found in artists such as Lars Tiller, Roar Wold and Jacob Weidemann. In Gullvåg’s figurative pictures the abstract tendency is expressed primarily through the devices uses to keep the motif in one pictorial plane, and in such a way, to reduce distracting depth-creating elements.

A central theme in his early works is to refer to his own childhood, often based upon family photographs. Communicated in soft, pale ochre tones, the motifs draw associations to faded dreams and the filter of years. Gullvåg worked gradually towards a painting where the chroma or colour saturation is restrained, such that the light eventually takes over. We see this clearly in a work such as Clapper, 1981, where the little boy dressed in white almost melts into the background. In the upper middle field there is an open hand, stylised with an almost iconic character that emphasizes the boy’s activity. In the side fields the artist has imprinted his own hands, as faint echoes. The painting’s creation is related to a childhood photo of one of his cousins. Thus the imprints of hands simultaneously establish a bridge between memories of childhood and adult life.

The bleached motif is not merely a distinguishing feature of Clapper but of this entire period. The poetic, white canvas lends the work a dreamy quality. The symbols Gullvåg adds intensify the dreaminess in the direction of Surrealism. He establishes his own world of symbols, with ambiguous, inscrutable figures that give even the most idyllic motif a modicum of unease.

Nevertheless, his immediate family are not the only people figured into his paintings; already in the final academy years we find his first portraits. These are painted in the same light pallet of yellow ochre, yet with considerably greater, more serious focus on the individual. His first portraits were a series of paintings of the Trøndelag actor Leif Jackobsen. Noteworthy are the ears flanking the corners of the picture; could they perhaps represent an attentive audience? Meanwhile, we have a clear sense that the actor has left the stage, and that he is in fact viewing us with an artist’s characteristic alertness.

In the early 1980s Gullvåg studied and worked in Stockholm, an important period for him.

The Oslo-debut at Gallery Dobloug in 1983 was his artistic breakthrough, 23 years old. His works received favourable critique and were purchased by major institutions.

Key paintings from this period:

Wooden Horse, 1981 (Debut Annual Autumn Exhibition, purchased by the National Gallery, now the National Museum)
Three Brothers (Debut Gallery Dobloug, purchased by the National Museum)
With Dog and Glasses, 1981 (Debut Gallery Dobloug, purchased by the National Museum)
Clapper, 1981 (Trondheim Art Museum)