Steinunn Thorarinsdottir- Encounters with Iceland
Steinunn Thorarinsdottir´s sculptural works are currently on display at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in West Kelowna, B.C., Canada for the exhibition ENCOUNTERS WITH ICELAND. The major exhibition features 44 works of the sculptor placed around the stunning vineyards and within the surrounding buildings including the cellar.
Thorarinsdottir´s figurative works evoke the sublime tied to both our sense of being in the world and our identity within it. The space they occupy is as important as the objects themselves. The works cover a time period from 1999 to 2014.
The exhibition will be on display for four months and opened on the 21st of June.
The exhibition at Mission Hill Family Estate features the artist’s dynamic sculptures on display throughout the winery grounds as well as in interior spaces, including the winery’s spectacular underground barrel cellar.
Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir travelled to the winery from Iceland to personally place each piece in their most ideal setting. The artist made a special return trip to Mission Hill Family Estate to preside over the exhibition’s official opening ceremony which was attended bynumerous international guests.
Proprietor Anthony von Mandl and his wife Debra first encountered these works during a visit to Iceland in the summer of 2013. On meeting Steinunn and becoming more familiar with her work, they immediately pictured her powerful sculptures on the grounds of Mission Hill Family Estate overlooking the stunning Okanagan Lake and Valley.
“What immediately struck me about Steinunn’s sculptures is her art promotes self-reflection and connectivity to nature through their quiet intrusion into our everyday lives,” explains von Mandl. “The sculptures are arranged throughout the winery grounds, and most striking are the pairs of forms, some cast in aluminum and others in cast iron, that mirror each other in silent conversation. The difference of materials provides a striking visual contrast, highlighting the forms as both familiar and distant, all surrounded by the magnificent architecture of the winery.”
‘Encounters with Iceland’ presents an expansive collection of work with themes of spirituality, introspection and physicality. Steinunn uses the human figure to evoke a sense of the sublime that is tied to both our sense of being in the natural world and our sense of identity within it.
“My works explore the human condition in all its variety and how man relates to the environment and to each other,” explains Steinunn. “Often a dialogue between the viewer and the work is formed with a tactile and personal interaction as the figures occupy the same space as we do. The aim is to leave a lot to the imagination and experience of the viewer. Each piece is firmly rooted in my Icelandic origin, reflecting the power and proximity of the elements.”
“Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir makes an outstanding contribution to the country of Iceland with her art. Through her endeavors, she brings great recognition to our country,” says Illugi Gunnarsson, Icelandic Minister of Education, Science and Culture. “With all her international success, she never forgets her deep Icelandic roots and continues her tremendous involvement with the arts and cultural organizations in communities throughout the country. We are proud to present her work at The National Gallery of Iceland and thrilled Canadians now have the opportunity to experience an impressive collection of her sculptures at Mission Hill Family Estate.”
Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir (b. 1955), who lives and works in Reykjavík, received her training as a sculptor at the University of Portsmouth in England and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna.
Steinunn has been working on figurative sculpture from the beginning of her career 35 years ago. Her figures are symbols of humanity. They are organic and explosive in their texture and formation thus firmly rooted in their Icelandic origin. Steinunn has exhibited widely in Europe, Japan, North America and Australia. She has received numerous commissions in Iceland and abroad for both indoor and outdoor site-specific works. Her sculptures, made of f.e. cast iron, bronze, aluminum, steel, and/or glass, are often life-sized anonymous and androgynous bodies. Despite their seeming anonymity the works are based on her son´s body bringing in an element of family. The works are visually austere and stark but manifesting a sense of psychological interiority, Steinunn’s sculptures are archetypal representations of the modesty and frailty within the human condition.