Fresh new owls
The owl sitting on the seven mountains is the emblem of the UoB, and an important part of the university's identity. Traditionally, the owl is a sign of wisdom, often associated with the Greek goddess Athena. In Rachel E. Huglen’s new frieze at the Sydneshaugen School, the noble bird has been given a fresher, more childlike design.
The large, round eyes are alternately innocent, guilty, surprised, angry and kind. Form-wise, all owls are alike, but some are upside down, others hide behind each other or fall out of the picture. Some are blue, some pink. They may have blue eyes, or pink dots. A few are completely orange, reflecting the color of the new sofa group that stands in the middle of the hall. Some have extra feathers sticking out from their feet or the top of their heads. Most of the birds are actually black or gray, and much of the canvas completely white - but the overall impression is bustling with color.
The frieze reflects elements from the old decoration of the building, where various birds are painted over doorways. The picture consists of several canvases mounted side by side. If we let our gaze rest on a single canvas at a time, we can see how the very similar owl forms chain together in diverse variations. The textile material is sound absorbing and fire resistant.
Artist Rachel E. Huglen (1979 -) is a master student at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. She has a minor in art history from the University of Bergen, so she has herself walked the halls of Sydneshaugen. In 2010 she did a decoration at Vik prison, and she has participated in several group exhibitions. From 2005-07 she was a member the artist collective "Pudder57".