Viken’s interest in the figure has consistently been informed by a frank and honest recognition of those feelings and experiences that people are often uncomfortable to share with others. Taboo is of central importance to this work and Viken openly talks about wanting to lean into the discomfort associated with projecting feelings of sadness, anger, jealousy or any other form of discontentment in public. Having previously worked as a psychiatric nurse before becoming a full-time artist, Viken’s first-hand understanding of human vulnerability is compounded by an interest in the ways that contemporary culture masks certain feelings and experiences. Whether in relation to feelings of personal anguish or even the signs of physical change, Viken is interested in the ways that people go about hiding aspects of themselves through forced smiling, social media glamorisation and the increasing popularity of plastic surgeries and other cosmetic procedures.

Identifying with a ‘colourist’ tradition of painting, Viken’s works rely upon familiar cultural associations between specific colours and correlating themes such as passion or death and mortality. At the same time, Viken deliberately favours colours that feel slightly irritating, or darker palettes that only reveal themselves more gradually, to encourage attentive looking on behalf of the viewer. This desire to promote active engagement with the material image extends to the surface of these paintings; here Viken often favours a built up impasto surface but endows such fleshy accumulations with vigour - it is important that the paintings avoid feeling over-laboured and instead contain spontaneous and expressive energy.