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.”
The project’s aim is to continue to encourage international exchange among artists, showcase diverse works to new audiences and foster dialogue among peoples of many different cultures – without anyone having to leave their homes.
Below is a link to Hello World, an international project where artists throughout the world have submitted art works to share with TransCultural Exchange.
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.
Alex Kahler is an author of fantasy and horror for adults and children. While at NES, he’s working on novels inspired by local folklore and ghost stories, and letting the magic of the landscape pull his writing in new directions. More information about his works can be found at www.arkahler.com
WRITER IN RESIDENCE – Sonja Sophie Kreis is a writer and artist from Switzerland, where she also works as a lecturer for art and art history. Her writing is very much inspired by art. She writes novels, but also experimental texts and texts about art. Her last book – KEIN SCHNEE IN VENEDIG/ NO SNOW IN VENICE – was published in Spring 2019 by edition pudelundpinscher.
Currently she is working on a novel with the title THE BIG ICE, inspired by a painting from the Swiss artist Adolf Dietrich (1877 – 1959), that shows the frozen Lake of Constance in the 1940’s. Today there is no more ice and snow at that place, so Sonja Sophie Kreis does some research in the winter landscapes of the north.
Last winter she spent some time in Greenland and now, in february 2020, she is experiencing the extreme weathers of Skagaströnd, writing in a room in the wonderful Salthuis, while observing the rapidly changing sceneries over the sea. It is a wonderfully inspiring place for someone interested in snow and ice in all possible forms and colors.
Indigo Perry is a writer and artist from near Melbourne, Australia. She is a Senior Lecturer in Writing & Literature in the School of Communication & Creative Arts at Deakin University. She writes memoir in poetic, experimental forms. Her first book, Midnight Water (Picador) was shortlisted for Australia’s National Biography Award. Her second book, Darkfall (University of Western Australia Publishing) is due for release in April 2020.
At NES, Indigo is working on her third book, Midnight Fire. It’s a memoir about the profound effects of grief. Since she has been at NES, and after seeing the phenomenon of iridescent nacreous clouds (glitsky), she has become interested in diffraction: the bending of light around objects. This is influencing her imagery and form in writing. She has also been inspired by the stormy weather, the changing skies, the rhythms of the wind and by Icelandic music during her residency.
Indigo also writes live in performance as part of a performance art duo called Illuminous. In that work, her writing is digitally projected over herself and her collaborator in a performance space as they improvise live.
At NES, Indigo has carried out a series of text projection experiments with another artist, Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell. Some of those experiments in the NES studio and at the Skagastrond swimming pool are shown in the images below, along with some fragments of writing from Midnight Fire.
Lieselle McMahon is a visual artist from Dublin, Ireland where she studied Music & Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin and Art & Design at CEAD at the National College of Art and Design. Her practice is mainly sculptural, encompassing 2D, 3D installation, live art and sound sculpture. Drawing on the assertion that the personal is political, conceptual themes around feminism and anti-capitalism manifest in her work and she has been a member of A4 Sounds Arts Community since 2017, where she bases her practice. She draws on both music and art sensibilities in her work and her central focus is the body.
Currently she is exploring themes of intimacy, how we relate to the other and to ourselves, and our connection (or reconnection) to the body-mind. Whilst at NES she is investigating this through sculpture, performance and sound, drawing on local mythology, storytelling and folklore (particularly as it relates to Prophetess Mountain), engaging with the natural elements in Skagastrond and the execution of her artistic endeavours in the prolonged darkness – a time with an almost magical quality in the air when the intuition seems more easily accessible.
Many thanks to the Arts Council of Ireland for funding this artist residency with a travel and training award @artscouncilireland #artsireland @a4sounds @lieselle.mcmahon