Canadian painter Riisa Gundesen explores femininity and mental illness in new show at Munson

“Riisa Gundesen: After the Bath” is on view Jan. 26-Feb. 22

Riisa Gundesen, “Self Portrait with Cryo Mask and Lingerie,” 2022, oil on drafting film


Pratt Munson Gallery presents its first exhibition of 2024, “Riisa Gundesen: After the Bath,” with an opening reception and artist talk by Gundesen from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at Munson Museum of Art.

Gundesen, based in Alberta, Canada, explores personal narrative, femininity, and mental illness through self-portraits and still life. Her unique style features cut-out paintings that sometimes drape onto the floor. “After the Bath” travels to Utica most recently from the Ottawa School of Art Gallery in Ontario.

“My practice explores the performance of femininity in the context of private spaces, particularly as it relates to my experiences of intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and my relationship to gender,” Gundesen said in an artist statement. “My current project recreates elements of my apartment bathroom through cutout paintings, which drape three-dimensionally over walls and floors. … Disembodied masks and beauty products uncannily mirror the absent body, suggesting a shed skin, the empty eyes of a skull. I’m interested in the object’s role as costumes in the arcane rituals of femininity, and as symbols of collective anxieties around desirability, aging and death.”

Gundesen’s work has been shown in numerous galleries and artist-run-centers across Canada. Her work is included in the collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the University of Saskatchewan. Gundesen received her BFA from the University of Lethbridge in 2012, and her MFA from the University of Saskatchewan in 2018. She currently teaches painting and drawing at the University of Alberta.

Pratt Munson Gallery is located in Fountain Elms at Munson Museum of Art. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit