Image: installation view
Skaftfell: Center of Visual Art, East Iceland
July – October, 2015
Artists: Ingólfur Arnarsson and Þuríður Rós Sigurþórsdóttir
Ingolfur Arnarsson (b. 1956) and Thuridur Ros Sigurthorsdottir (b.1975) are somewhat different artists, yet in this exhibition their work can be seen to relate to painting without it being painting.
In this exhibition a number of concrete works by Arnarsson will be shown. These may initially appear as austere sentinels, irregularly spaced around the gallery. Although identical in structure, where the concrete blocks’ outward surface has been pristinely primed, variation occurs with a rectangular section, either at the top or the bottom, that is painted with a single muted shade of watercolour. With this form we are confronted with an elemental form of painting. Arnarsson’s use of concrete affirms the material nature of the painting, relating it more to architecture and the wall upon which it hangs than to a picture or the decorative. Yet the subtle colour and attention to surface create an unusual softness which unsettles the works apparent minimalist austerity.
While Arnarsson’s work is concerned with the vertical surface of the wall, Sigurthorsdottir’s attention is more orientated to the horizontal of the floor and yet it too highlights the nature of the surface. Her colourful printed silk works similarly appear like paintings but laid flat. They are raised slightly off of the ground upon shallow pedestals and yet with some the surface is disrupt by an unseen object just below. This highlights their material form and its lustrous nature. Further, this also happens when the silks ripple with any breeze which blows through the gallery. The coloured surface of the works is representational unlike Arnarsson’s, which are pure abstraction, depicting drawings of her work – and imagined works – in exhibition settings.
The exhibition invites consideration of material and surface, and what constitutes a painting. Moreover the exhibition concerns how these art works inhabit the space of the gallery, of how they relate to the architecture and how the horizontal and vertical planar surfaces are employed by each artist.