We are born into this world pure, authentic, full of love and still holding onto parts of heaven. As we experience life, we begin to layer ourselves with a protective coating, every reaction to a perceived negative experience becomes another layer. This process makes us feel safe, each layer provides us with a temporary sense of comfort, until we awaken to the realization that every added layer has detached us a little bit from ourselves and others. These experiences are necessary as they shape who we are, who and what we attract, what we give and how we receive, and also how we interact with people. Our genuine self is always at our core, waiting to be revealed to the world, sometimes we forget this as carrying the weight of our protective coats becomes a full time job in itself.

My friend Magdalena Denker’s work speaks to this, when we view art we often see or feel how we perceive ourselves, we see our reflection mirrored within the message. I have always been intrigued by Denker’s work and her methodical process of layering, the illusion of perfection at first glance until you look deeper, the balance of chaos and structure. Her process relates to the layers we acquire through out life, the layers that shape who we are, the layers that we strive to leave behind as we evolve and grow.

Denver’s artistic process is very interesting – where she begins is very different from where she ends. She begins by painting an abstract, colorful, loose and free painting that expresses a part of her inner being. After she has completed the first part she then begins the process of covering the painting up. White cube after white cube is carefully applied with a palette knife, creating a harmonious rhythm with pops of color peaking out between the cubes. Her paintings all have movement, depth, freedom and structure as they portray the yin and yang of left and right brain.

The patterns of her cubes remind me of the patterns we develop throughout our lives through our experiences, through childhood conditioning and through our struggle to express who we are. We all want to be seen, we all want to be heard, and we all want to be loved unconditionally. Part of being human is chasing these desires and ironically we simultaneously push them away as we add each layer, yeah it’s complicated. To simplify, just as Denker does with her pure white simple cubes, when we stop chasing externally and we turn inward, we realize that everything we are looking for has always been inside of us, it was just covered up layer upon layer upon layer. When we shine light onto something it pushes out darkness and truth is often exposed, light shines through the layers. When you hold Denker’s paintings in the light you can see through the cubes, you can clearly see where she began and where she ended, her truth has been expressed. Light has a way of revealing depth, heart, and soul.

image of abstract painter's magdalena denker's "Music"

Magdalena Denker “Music”

In this particular work titled “Music”, Denker began by painting abstractly, then she layered with her cubes, and after achieving a melodic sense of visual harmony she took her palette knife in a circular motion, disrupting the patterns created by scratching circles through her cubes. Isn’t this just how life works, nothing is ever perfect as perfection is an illusion, the truth is that life is perfectly flawed.

Magdalena Denker is an contemporary artist working with oil paining on large canvas. She was born in Sweden 1974 and recently moved from Philadelphia, US to Stockholm, Sweden with her husband and two children. Magdalena worked as a management consultant until 2008 when she got the opportunity to start painting professionally in the United States. She has studied abstract oil painting and participated in numerous exhibitions in Stockholm, Philadelphia and New York. In 2011 she moved back to Stockholm and is a member of Lidingö Konstnärer and is represented at Lidingö Stads Art Collection. If you have sales inquires please contact

image of abstract artist magdalena denker's painting "Mosaic nr 1"

Magdalena Denker “Mosaic nr 1”