Since arriving in Iceland, artist in resident Erin Estrada has been making paintings about perceptions of land through the lens of tourism, capitalism, and kitsch culture. She is fascinated in how a landscape can act as an extension of the self, and reflect certain political and psychological ruminations.
Specifically, she establishes kitsch as a gimmick to undermine the subtle ways violence is woven into the fabric of the American society, directly a consequence of hyper-consumerist propaganda, and how this can lead to conspiracy theories. Commodified spirituality/lore, read as either banal or deeply meaningful, is of particular interest to her. She portrays places with this in mind, layering the image with borders, windows, signs/symbols specific to the region, and references from memory, as a way to point to the obfuscation of assumed realities. Website: http://er1n.com/
Hannah Witner is a visual artist and designer originally from Charlotte, NC, USA, and currently based between New York City and North Carolina. She earned a BFA in Integrated Design from Parsons School for Design in 2018. Hannah Witner’s work spans from colorful, surrealist, and psychological oil paintings, whimsical drawings, and experimental & commercial design. Hannah is a multidisciplinary artist: at the heart of her work lies a passion for uncovering the hidden potential of materials, psychological processes, and strange figuration, which she undertakes in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.
Her work combines humanoids with an expansive array of visual material with immense play of colors, beginning in consciousness and transience. Her work combines touches of reality with meta-fiction and comedy and reflects our disorder, dissociation, detachment, individualism, and weird minutia of humans. She pokes at the flawed and unexplainable through painting and illustration, expressing a disorderliness that is both humorous, dark, and amorphic. At NES she hopes to make lots of drawings and studies on paper. Usually she works on large scale canvases, and the restriction to work on a smaller scale will be a great challenge. These drawings will be a continuation of the work she has been doing in New York and at the residency she attended just before arriving to NES in Lisbon, Portugal. It will hopefully start to open up a new avenue of regular practice of drawing and illustration in a more pronounced way in her practice. They will be mostly figurative, experimental, contemplative, surreal, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical. Web: www.artbyhannah.me IG: @hannahwitner
Alexandra Ivanova is a composer, musician, researcher and writer, mentored by Lebanese-American composer and pianist Tarek Yamani. Through her writings and music, Alexandra aims to recreate connection and relatability between cultures that are othered in present times. Alexandra is working on new compositions and deepening her study of Azeri and Cuban folklore.
During her NES residency, she also discovered Icelandic folkloric songs through the history of the forgotten Icelandic Fidla. Alexandra sheds light on possible links of certain Icelandic folklore to Oriental influences and is creating new arrangements that celebrate these unlikely connections.
Performance live on July 30th, 2020 in @lian.kulturraum Vienna with Mahan Mirarab (@mahanmirarab) on guitar.
When not on the keys, Alexandra is researching and writing about identity, belonging and privilege. Her activities and interviews with Skagaströnd’s local community are part of her process creating an interactive theatre piece that questions social norms.
Building on her recent debut concert in Vienna, Alexandra is also combining her spoken word poems and compositions in live performances that spark questions around current social and cultural topics.
Follow her on Instagram: @a.i.jazz Photography credits: (1)Group in Skagaströnd: http://ludwignikulski.de (2) Solo image: Sam Adutwum (@samadutwum) Live video credits: Amin Ebrahimi (@amin_embrahiimii)
“I hate photography. Because it is limited to the visual means of reality. But to hate something you must also love it. You can not hate without knowledge and you can not love without commitment.
For me inside the photograph there must be a transformation from what I see, in order to transform what is depicted into a self-contained conversation taking place within the photographic framework. I use all genres and work exclusively analog.
I am excited by the idea of having a product that emerged 100% from physics and chemistry. Non-digital in a digitalized world. By being restricted by the analog technic, the focus and concentration on the photographic work and its process increases. Which leads to complex stories that deal with absurd and existential issues.
In Iceland I am documenting remote communities, concentrating on the harsh co-living of nature and civilization, weird everyday rituals as well as cultural heritage in modern society.” http://www.ludwignikulski.de/
Scott Walden arrived in Skagaströnd with plans to photograph vernacular architecture in the long summer twilight and write a philosophy paper interpreting Terrence Malick’s films as investigations into what it means to be a person and what circumstances are corrosive of such status.
But the Iceland twilight wasn’t what he was expecting and he’s now photographing local buildings and other structures in the silvery Icelandic daylight.
The writing’s going well, especially thanks to help from the other artists, who are taking part in a screening of Malick’s Badlands (1973) followed by a discussion of its themes and metaphors. http://scottwalden.net/
New York Times bestselling author Andra Watkins writes about immortality. Her three novels weave afterlife stories for real people from history who died mysteriously.
Not Without My Father, her NYT bestselling memoir, challenges readers to make memories with people who matter. The memories we make live on in the hearts of those we leave behind and become our means of immortality.
At NES, Andra is finalizing her fourth novel. The Evangelicals is drawn from her experiences growing up in a right-wing evangelical church. It examines the noxious brew of toxic religion and extremist politics in the United States.
“Since 2014 my predominant media are painting and installation while exploring different random processes. My work has been very influenced by residency times and travels to Iceland where my observations of the color of the sky over a day, a week, a month led me to the Weathertranscriptions.
This practice has been more and more conceptualized and is rooted in the taoist philosophy and the idea of the sky of as a continuous movement and creative energy. I work with materials that are not very common for painting as plotter foil, other plastic materials and tracing paper which have the translucence that reminds of the sky’s impression.
So while as in a traditional landscape painting the sky and the earth are on one ground the result of my work is both vertical and horizontal as I work on the wall, performing a very simple gesture of tracing a line on the underground and in parallel collect the paint on the floor on paper, foil or other materials.
Often the process is documented by photography or even video. Deliberately I do not control the dripping paint, the notion of letting go or letting happen is part of my approach.
The results are abstract paintings that embody the notion of time and space and can be seen as landscapes in some ways.
Alongside my painting practice I dance a lot since a few years and I started to make video captures of those dances in the lasts months as it links to my older photographic work where I staged myself in different settings. I want to dedicate my time at Nes to find out if and how I could combine those two approaches to something broader like performance or choreography.”
Janette Kerr’s paintings and drawings represent immediate responses to movement and rhythm within the landscape.
Here in Skagaströnd they are about advancing snow and mist, wind, glancing sunlight, whiteness and shadows, land and mountains disappearing and reappearing – elements that seem to be about something intangible.
Visit Kerr’s website for more information or read her blog on her experience here in Skagaströnd and the far north.
Suzanne Yeremyan is an artist from Providence, Rhode Island [US]. Her practice revolves around the perspective that there is a delicate collaboration that exists between darkness and beauty. Through her practice, she attempts to translate and emulate these findings. Sources of inspiration are intangible or tangible, internal within the self or external around the self. Emotion and environment.
Her work reflects abrasion, corrosion, decay, woe and isolation. Works are on paper, glass, and repurposed materials such as textile, metal, and plastic – using ink, charcoal, and powder pigment. Finding the process of traditional, “correct” printmaking to be limiting for her practice, Suzanne’s experimental approach calls for less immaculacy and precision.
Working mostly with monotype and drypoint, self-made tools and solvents such as wire brushes and salt sprays are utilized.
In addition to printmaking, Suzanne’s body of work also includes mixed media abstractions, painting, illustration, collage, as well as music – using with sound as another way to explore the same concepts that inform her visual work. Despite a relatively diverse body of work, the purpose behind each piece remains consistent: there is warmth in darkness, there is beauty in the harsh.