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Ragnheiður Káradóttir & Sara Gillies: Wonky, warped, wavy
27 November, 2021–30 January, 2022
The duo exhibition Brenglað, bogið, bylgjað / Wonky, warped, wavy presents paintings by Sara Gillies (UK/IS) alongside three-dimensional floor pieces by Ragnheiður Káradóttir (IS). While distinct in their use of space and medium, the works share a quality of creative process characterized by playfulness, intuition, and an in-depth conversation between materiality, shape, and the imagination of parallel existences.
Ragnheiður’s works often evoke demarcated, strange worlds. They consist of sculptural objects that at first glance seem familiar, but on closer inspection turn out to be harder to define than expected. Their combinations of familiar shapes and materials create rather exotic objects that contain a variety of reference points. Ragnheiður draws inspiration from the aesthetics of recreational environments such as mini-golf and obstacle courses and everyday objects like household equipment. She isolates objects from their purpose, simplifies them, and studies them from a strictly aesthetic point of view. Utensils are altered and put in a new attire and dead objects are sometimes personified. The outcomes are abstract objects that have lost their context and use, but remain familiar, opening up to multiple and sometimes contradictory speculations: is this a child’s toy or a sex toy? Ragnheiður’s imaginary parallel dimensions lead to a kind of erosion of reality in a simple, precise and puzzling way.
Sara’s work contains both personal and geographical references and in her recent paintings she sets out to re-describe the body, especially the female body, intersecting it with nature. Both the body and nature are multifaceted phenomena, but in Sara’s paintings there appears a certain fusion of the two which she intertwines with her own fragmented thoughts, memories and experiences. The painting process itself is a big part of Sara’s work. In often long and rigorous production phases she paints and repaints, breaks up and rebuilds, erases boundaries, pulls and stretches. This process involves working with intuition, movement and reflexes and it uses previous layers of paint as a guide towards the next stage of the painting’s existence. Each work goes through many layered transformations, always on the edge between the objective and the subjective, in search of a balance between the playful, the primitive and the mysterious. To a certain extent, it can be said that Sara’s approach to painting is sculptural, although she stays within the framework of the canvas. The rough texture of the paintings, the physicality of their development, and the shapes they depict encourage this association with three dimensional form giving.
Experienced together, Sara and Ragnheiður’s works create contact surfaces of opposites and similarities, from which an exciting conversation and friction emerges. In Wonky, warped, wavy one finds abstract and dreamlike worlds and objects that originate in the familiar. They lead the viewer through abstraction further and further into their own imagination of a slightly bent, warped reality.
Curated by Hanna Christel Sigurkarlsdóttir
Ragnheiður Káradóttir (b. 1984) graduated from the Iceland University of the Arts with a BA in Fine Art in 2010 and completed an MA in Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2016. She has participated in a number of exhibitions both in Iceland and abroad and is the other half of the art duo Lounge Corp., which aims to show art in unconventional spaces. Ragnheiður has held solo exhibitions at the Reykjavík Art Museum and Harbinger, participated in collaborative exhibitions at Kling & Bang and Satellite Art Show in Miami and taken part in group exhibitions at Gerðarsafn and Ásmundarsalur.
Sara Gillies (f. 1982) was born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, England, and lives and works in Stykkisholmur, Iceland. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Winchester School of Art, and with an MFA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2007. Sara has exhibited at Harbinger Gallery, Reykjavík; Horse and Pony, Berlin; Gallery Beast Turfs Projects, London and has participated in the art festival Sequences, Reykjavík.
Opening times Mon-Fri 12:00-20:00, Sat-Sun 16:00-20:00.