During my residency in the north of Iceland this May, I was inspired to make a series of plein air landscape paintings after seeing the exhibition Eternal Recurrence at the Icelandic Art Center. The show was centered around an Icelandic landscape painter from the 1800s, Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval. Included in the exhibition were paintings from Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance of extreme landscape painting in the Icelandic lava fields.
Hunafloi, May 24, 2021, 11 pm. 3 degrees Celsius., 40 x 50 cm, oil on linen, 2021
I created the series paintings with the impulse to continue the conversation that these two artists started, both with the land in Iceland and the history of painting, but with the intent to reframe it from a feminist lens.
Spakonufellhofdi, May 26, 2021, 11:30pm. 3 degrees celsius., 40 x 50 cm, oil on linen, 2021
During my painting sessions, the weather was cold (between 0-6 °C / 32-43 °F), the wind was strong, and the birds flying overhead were loud. But rather than attempting to conquer the land through an act of brute force like Kjartansson in the iconic image of him, I approached these painting sessions as a way to connect with the land and to pay homage to it – which I see as an essential aspect of challenging traditional patriarchal and colonial narratives.
Spakonufellhofdi May 25, 2021, 9:30 pm. 4 degrees Celsius., 90 x 60 cm, oil on linen, 2021
Spakonufellhofdi, May 26, 2021, 11:30 pm. 4 degrees Celsius, 90 x 60 cm, oil on linen, 2021
Spakonufell, May 25, 2021, 9pm. 3 degrees Celsius., 40 x 50 cm, oil on linen, 2021
Spakonufell (north face). May 6, 2021, 6 pm. 0 degrees Celsius., diptych 30 x 40 cm, oil on linen, 2021
Skagastrond, May 25, 2021, 3pm. 6 degrees Celsius, 30 x 23 cm, oil on linen, 2021
Blonduos. May 10, 2021, 3:00 pm. 4 degrees Celsius., diptych 30 x 40 cm, oil on linen, 2021
In addition to the paintings, I collaborated with Danish filmmaker, Anna Katrine Thuesen, who was also at the residency, to document the painting sessions.
Pedro Torres (BR/SP) focuses his artistic practice on topics related to the concepts of time, distance, memory, language and image, using a variety of media in the development of his works and research projects. At NES he has been working mainly on a future project of a three-channel video installation with a virtual reality experience.
Harry Darkins (UK) has been an artist in residence at Nes since February.
Working primarily from his photographs of Iceland’s landscapes, light and ever-changing weather, he has produced paintings and drawings in charcoal, graphite and pastel, focusing on capturing a sense of place and atmosphere.
Recently, spending time at the site of the new volcano at Fagradalsfjall has led him to explore the concept of storytelling in drawing, reimagining his visits to the volcano as a series of mixed media panoramas based on both photographs and memory.
In June Harry will complete a further residency with ArtsIceland at Ísafjörður in the Westfjords.
„Rekaviður – A Call to Action” is an educational research projecton climate change through the eyes of the journey of driftwood, as well as a call to action for greater awareness of climate change and how we can prevent further damage.
Our project aims to tell the alarming story of our climate crisis through driftwood’s archive of „living data“. Driftwood is not only an inherent part of Iceland’s history and culture but also particularly suitable to explain climate change data, as it contains detailed climate records as well as information on changing oceanic currents, sea ice and sea levels.
Rekaviður will culminate in the presentation of an exhibition at Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd in the fall of 2021 and creating a website, which will offer insights into Iceland’s relation with driftwood, show facts and figures on climate change that are contained by driftwood and explain the importance of afforestation for a climate neutral country. The exhibition is designed as a touring exhibition.
Groups and initiatives will be encouraged to design their own driftwood objects under a Creative Commons license and sell them to locals and tourists. Profits from Rekaviður sales are expected to be used for afforestation projects, helping Iceland to become climate neutral.
What we’re looking for: Easy-to-make, creative and inspiring objects made of driftwood that are eligible to be recreated by everyone under a Creative Commons license
Submissions should include: Photographs documenting your driftwood object(s) Easy to follow step-by-step instruction(s) on how to recreate your driftwood object(s) Care tips if applicable (e.g. for objects that can be used for food preparation/consumption)
Please note that driftwood is the property of the land owner, so before gathering driftwood, please ask for permission!
Please send your applications to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1st 2021. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, we’re looking forward to seeing your submissions!
Outlook: If selected, your driftwood object(s) will become an integral part of the Rekaviður project. Your objects will be shown at the exhibition and your step-by-step instructions will be available for download on the project’s website and inspire groups and initiatives throughout Iceland to engage in the creation of driftwood objects and in funding afforestation projects. You can make a difference!
„Rekaviður – A Call to Action” was developed by Berlin based media collective Lichtung, received funding by Rannís and is realized in partnership with Nes Artist Residency Skagaströnd and the University Centre of the Westfjords. Read more: lichtung-berlin.de/rekavidur-a-call-to-action
Alex Close is a Canadian visual artist and researcher currently based in Ottawa Canada who recently graduated with an MDes in industrial design research from Carleton University in Ottawa (2020) and an MLitt in fine art practice from the Glasgow School of Art in 2017. She graduated from her BFA in drawing and painting from OCAD University in Toronto in 2015.
Critical and curious about mechanical rhythms adopted by humans, she questions the material imprint man-made items or rhythms have on subconscious movement patterns and the process of archiving images in memory.
In this vein, she also explores optics and perception with a critical eye on constructed or designed experiences/spaces and how organic powers such as sleep might fight back.
In this realm of dyads she explores the juxtaposition of supernatural (such as mythology) and hypertechnological spaces, and the meeting point of industry and natural environment (which in some cases can be oddly harmonious).
She is also committed to cross-disciplinary dialogue with her recent research exploring remote multidisciplinary drawing ideation through digital media such as virtual reality.
Before leaving Iceland Alex exhibited at Litla Gallery in Hafnarfjörður near Reykjavik. You can find more information about her work here: https://a-close.com/
Janine Gerber is a german artist, working and living in Lübeck close to the Baltic sea. She graduated in 2006 from the School of Art and Design Berlin-Weißensee and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. In 2018, she was awarded the 1st Possehl-Art Award for Lübeck Art.
Her artistic research is based on the transition between the illusional space in a painting and the natural space.
Janine explores themes of materiality and its poetic value, sensory aspects of surfaces like ink, oil paint or paper (unprocessed white, or paint with machine oil) and the opening towards the three-dimensional.
During her one-month stay at NES artist residency Janine is focused on themes of folding and tangency in nature.
Ragga Róberts is an Icelandic artist who lives and works in Reykjavík, Iceland. She graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Painting. Ragga has exhibited her work in Iceland, New York, and Texas. Her work narrates the beauty of icebergs and hints at the sadness of them slowly melting away due to climate change.
Ragga’s recent work explore light, color and nature. She is inspired by artists such as Fairfield Porter, Louisa Matthíasdóttir and Zaria Forman.
Kyo Kayamoto is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City. After graduating from Pratt Institute, she started her full-time freelancing career; writing and illustrating books, creating animations, and other illustration and graphic projects for a variety of clients.
Recently she is focusing on making postcards series as a personal project; in the picture you can see some of her illustrations for halloween and easter. She illustrates a story with some sense of humor with her original cute characters in each picture.
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/