Icelandic Art opening at Scandanavia House

On October 9, Scandanavia House held an opening for their new exhibit Uncommon Ground: Artists and the Icelandic Landscape and I was able to attend both the lecture and to view the works on display. Here are some images from that evening.

Ragna Robertsdottir in front of her wall mural made of shards of lava pumice

Ragna Robertsdottir in front of her wall mural made of shards of lava pumice

Of all of the works on display, I found Ragna Robertsdottir’s work the most compelling. She applied lava pumice directly to the wall to create a textured landscape, which looks flat when viewed from the front, but when viewed from the side, you can see the lava pieces jutting out from the wall.

Lava pumice mural - side view

Lava pumice mural – side view

I never would have thought to photograph her piece from the side until she told me to look, using that perspective. “The painting is all black when you view it from the side,” she said. Yes, and it radically changes the viewer’s depth perception of the piece too.

Sea water landscape

Sea water landscape

This sea water landscape is interesting. My understanding of the process is the artist uses these almost petri-dish looking glass vessels and allows sea water to evaporate, leaving behind highly textured salt landscapes.

Icelandic landscape painting on display

Icelandic landscape painting on display

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Textural detail from the painting. The artist uses a layering of paint to achieve this effect.

Textural detail from the painting. The artist uses a layering of paint to achieve this effect.

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Icelandic floral detail 1

Icelandic floral detail 1

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Icelandic floral detail 2

The two floral images are small details from much larger compositions that do not photograph well. This is the work of Eggert Petursson, who paints Icelandic flowers found on the heaths and lava fields in Iceland.

And while these floral landscapes don’t exist as Petursson portrays them, because this variety and abundance of flowers would not exist in one place, his work evokes the way life must eke out an existence in that landscape … one flower at a time.

Icelandic artist panel. Moderator Gregory Volk on the left, Ragna Robertsdottir, Eggert Petursson and 2 other Icelandic artists discuss their works.

Icelandic artist panel. Moderator Gregory Volk on the left, Ragna Robertsdottir, Eggert Petursson and 2 other Icelandic artists discuss their works.

I believe this exhibition will be on display in the Scandanavia House galleries for the next three months. Scandanavia House is located on Park Avenue at 38th Street, in New York City.

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