Arngunnur Ýr | San Rafael, U.S.A.
San Marco Gallery, Dominican University, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael, CA.
January 27th – March 16th, 2018
Opening at 14:00
“The longing for Paradise is man’s longing not to be man.”
Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
My works have always held a great degree of contradiction. Upon first inspection they seem calm and alluring, but on a closer glance, the viewer becomes aware of the tension created by the manipulation of the surface and oppositional elements. The work seems to be coming apart, exposing a deep interior beyond the depicted image. There is a play of nostalgia with cynical, theatrical fantasy in times of environmental disaster. They are intentionally askew and vortexed towards the center. They imply destabilization, and challenge the viewer in how to navigate through the painting. The painting draws the viewer in, and refuses to let go. I spend considerable time in nature, as I work as a nature hiking guide, and through the years it has quite naturally evolved that I have become passionate about geology. Painting is inherently geological in nature in that it is composed of layer upon layer, each holding a story, a history, a testament of a time, experience, situation. Each painting represents the human condition, a life lived, memory upon memory stored, hidden, accessed at times, shaping and molding us. We become the mountain, strong at times, but not invincible, sculpted by the forces around us.
My series WITNESS addresses the urgent need to deal with climate change. The current work explores the rapid changes taking place around our glaciers due to climate change. The mood of the new work is at once ominous, projecting uncertainty and tension as it is warm and nostalgic, already projecting a land that was. The motifs are glacial landscapes around Iceland. The works aim to be a ballad, a love song to a nature soon lost. They have a delicate, tender quality, but equally project a more violent, forlorn and freakish side, like a deer in the headlights. The motifs are frequently places I have been coming to since I was a child, locations where the glacier has retreated greatly and one already senses loss and panic.
About the artist
Arngunnur Ýr is a visual artist who lives in Iceland and San Francisco. She has her BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA, USA. She has also studied at the Icelandic School of visual Art and Rietveldt Academie, Amsterdam, Holland. She has exhibited worldwide in the last thirty years, and her works are in international collection of banks, businesses, museum and private collectors. Collections include Mills College Art Museum, Reykjavík Art Museum, Kópavogur Art Museum, Hafnarfjörður Art Museum, Árnes Art Museum OECD, EFTA, Microsoft, NIKE, Hótel Rangá, Icelandair, and many more.