Friday, May 23, 2014

RVK Art: From Another Country

In addition to all the great Icelandic art and design, I have also been to a number of exhibitions featuring the work of artists from other places… The image above was taken at an exhibition about an island called Själö where people with mental illness were sent. The exhibition was rather dark and sad, but beautiful. I especially like this piece, a film projected on the wall and then reflected below on black acrylic.

Ignacio uses office supplies to make his work…this piece was made using simple paper and 128 different typewriters

 a collection of water samples from each glacier in Iceland

Lost and Found was an exhibition/performance including a variety of works like film, music, photography, and performance art. Most of the pieces were projected on a giant screen in front of the audience… it was a wonderful mix of pieces, each unique and well-done. 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RVK Art: More Icelandic Artists

After publishing yesterday's post, I realized I had to write a second entry about Icelandic artists…

(This gallery is literally just this window space. One artist shows work for two months and it's one view all the time...a fantastic concept for a gallery for everyone.)

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

RVK Art, Part 1: Icelandic Artists

I've been going to a lot of exhibitions and seeing tons of inspiring art since I arrived in Iceland. Here's a  nutshell version with links wherever possible so you can check out the work, too… One of the first things I went to see was the top piece by Ólöf Nordal, located in Grandi, Reykjavík's old harbor. I've been wanting to see it ever since I read about it on I Heart Reykjavík over the winter! It's a man-made hill with a path that spirals from the ground to the top, ending with a traditional fish-drying shed. 

dress by Svava Magdalena Arnarsdottir 
Master's Degree show, Iceland Academy of the Arts

I went to the Master's Degree show at the museum last year and was impressed with how sophisticated the work was. This year was equally impressive--I especially liked the clothing, again, and this dress in particular. 

Jóhönna's beautiful black and white video appears to cast a shadow of a window and what's happening outside it. The images slowly move around the room just as light and shadow would during the day.

Inga's intricate line drawings on fabric combine different scientific drawings to form unusual narratives.

The Remains by Katla Rós Völu-og Gunnarsdóttir 
Master's Degree show, Icelandic Academy of the Arts

I absolutely love this piece by Katla Rós: an installation about her mother who died recently. The piece includes all of her mother's possessions in a tall stack of shrink-wrapped boxes, complemented by photographs and letters arranged on the surrounding walls. 

I created a special album on Facebook with more images from even more exhibitions and galleries. You can visit it here.

Thanks for reading. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Possibility of Place

This week I have shared two recent road trips with you, through brief text and photographs. A few months ago I was interviewed by SUNY New Paltz MFA student, Maia Leppo, and she asked me about "place." I thought I would share some of my answer with you now because it goes so well with these recent travel experiences. The following is unedited but abridged:

"Place is important to me because it effects me, and thus my work, on a very base or primal and emotional level, and also quite deeply. My surroundings influence how I live and they influence my mood and attitude... 

I think I probably could create work anywhere... Place is a challenge that can be channeled in a special way, in ways that one cannot comprehend until experiencing it first hand, and maybe not even then. 

…Place, especially a new one, influences my work and my process in ways I cannot begin to imagine or expect… I try to not think about what my experience will be like before I get there, too. I try to travel to this new place without expectation, which is a very challenging thing to do, but it is possible. I don’t even like to read about the place before I arrive. I like to have an open mind and not predispose myself to any sort of attitude or emotion…Then when I arrive I take it all in in a relaxed, yet excited way. I walk for miles on end for hours at a time. I carry a map, a notebook, pencils, and my camera. I take pictures of everything, 100s, 1000s of photos. I make notes, I write down how I feel, I write about things I see…and I create facts for myself, evidence…and all of it gets under my skin and comes out through my work. Some things are obvious and clear, while some things are so quiet and subtle I don’t notice until later, perhaps when I have begun a different project... Place educates me on things I have never experienced: culture, landscape, history, people…and inevitably my mind is opened even further and my perspective changes. I like to meet people, I like to sit and watch people, I like trying all sorts of new foods and find music and art that was created there. I visit museums and historical buildings. I look to tucked away spaces and places that only locals know about. I wander, I walk every street or along miles of coast, I walk through beautiful neighborhoods and less than desirable ones, fields and forests, I walk down alleys maybe I shouldn’t walk down and climb through places that are a bit treacherous…and sometimes I just sit and do absolutely nothing. None of this can be expected to happen or forced. I don’t think it would mean as much or feel as important. For me, these new experiences also create humility, empathy and compassion. And finally, all of this ends up relating to previous experiences in other places. They play off one another and I may begin to recognize patterns or answer questions I didn’t even know I had. What ends up happening is I get to know myself better as a person and as an artist. It’s amazing to me."

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Road Trip No. 2

Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Just this past weekend I celebrated my 40th birthday with another road trip, this time visiting places around the Reykjanes and Snæfellsnes Peninsulas… steam, hot springs and bubbling mud, unreal mountains, miles of lava rocks, basalt column cliffs, sleepy towns, a shipwreck, opalescent water, the most wonderful natural hot pot and a sunset, a singing cave with graffiti from the 1700s, dramatic cloudscapes… again, a mix of adventure and beautifully quiet moments. There couldn't have been a better way to spend such an important birthday.

Please visit my Flickr to see more photos from the trip!

Krýsuvík geothermal area

Blue Lagoon

Gerðuberg basalt column cliff


Grimsby fishing trawler Epine, wrecked March 13, 1948 at Djúpalónssandur

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Road Trip No. 1

lava field

A few weeks ago I went on a road trip from Reykjavík to Höfn. The drive took my friend and I along the south coast of the island with many stops along the way, a few planned and many spontaneous... waterfalls, massive rocks and the sea, an abandoned plane, fields of moss-covered lava, glaciers and glacial lagoons, icebergs, ruins of old houses and barns, black sand beaches, hot pots and a very old pool built into the side of a mountain. I think my favorite moments were the ones in which time seemed to stand still or to not even exist. What a good feeling. It was an amazing experience!

You can see all my photos on Flickr.

steam and snow

a very old croft or turf house

DC 3/Sólheimasandi
an abandoned US Navy plane on a black sand beach

Heinabergsjökull, glacial lagoon

the Atlantic Ocean at Vík

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Most Amazing Map

To begin my week of travel posts, I thought I would share one of my new favorite discoveries in Reykjavík: a 3D topographic map of Iceland located in Ráðhús (CIty Hall). The 76 m² (818 ft²) map is made of 1mm-thick sheets of cardboard mounted on plywood and took about four years to complete. It was made by the Reykjavík Model Laboratory for Reykjavík's 200th anniversary in 2006. I was astounded by the detail of the map and, just back from a road trip along the south coast a few weeks ago, I loved finding all the places I had been to. I was there alone for most of my visit which was a wonderful way to take it all in.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Showed a Video

my video at the exhibition

The Sím April residents had a group show last week and I showed a video. Along with all those thousands of photos I'm taking all the time, I also make videos, usually of light reflecting on water. I use my simple digital camera and available light. I do not use a tripod and try to be very still, holding the camera in a way that creates and captures this unusual purple streaking that can be challenging to get. The two-minute pieces are silent and appear black and white with just hints of color here and there. I play them on a loop as I try to transform the different elements into something else, almost like water, light and movement are individual materials in themselves. I've been collecting these videos for a few years now and have amassed a collection that I am just now beginning to work with.

The video I showed during the exhibition was made at Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland. It looked beautiful projected on a wall and it was great to see it like that after only ever watching any of my videos on my laptop. I've started a Vimeo page and will add more videos over time.

at the opening

The rest of the work at the show included a mix of paintings, photographs and mixed-media works. All the residents worked together to hang the show and everyone agreed the pieces were complementary and created a collectively strong show. I want to say thanks to my fellow April residents. It was a really great month!

Annalisa Fulvi (Italy) -

Robert Clark (England)

Yasmine Louis (Canda) -
Peter Pendergrass (US) -
Mar Cuervo (Spain) -
Kobie Nel (South Africa) -
Keeley Haftner (Canada) -
Breda Lynch (Ireland)

getting ready to install the work

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

All I Need

my studio

Just a few images of my studio…a much different space from anything I've been in before because there are no tools and no materials. This space is really just for reading, thinking and drawing. I have a desk to sit at and tables for the things I've been collecting, and that's really all I need.

my desk

one of the books I've been studying

the view from my studio

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 5, 2014

So What Am I Doing Here?

the Sím studios and apartments
my studio is that little window at the top

I have been in Iceland for nearly a month now and so much has happened! I've been reading a lot in my studio, mostly about artists I admire and don't know very much about. I'm also thinking a lot and doing a little bit of drawing. I go for walks every day and take pictures and meditate on questions I have about my work. It feels luxurious to read all day about art and go for long walks and it feels much needed and important. I've been taking in a lot of galleries and exhibitions, too, and went on an incredible four-day road trip all along the south coast. I'll tell you about all of that soon! For now, here are some photos from my daily walking…and, as always, I have posted more on Facebook and on Flickr.

in my neighborhood - three walls by my friend, Guido Van Helten

nets and ropes in the harbor very close to my apartment and studio

Viðey Island, largest island of the Kollafjørður Bay, 
a short boat ride from the city

Grótta lighthouse in Seltjarnarnes, the town right next to Reykjavík 
and a 30 minute walk from where I live

 Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thank You

"I Live Here Now" closes tomorrow and so I've been reflecting on it even more in the last few days. This morning I started thinking about all the people who helped me with the show and I decided I wanted to publicly thank each of them. So much of what I do in my studio is private and solitary, but there comes a time when I have to reach out to friends and colleagues for advice or to simply think out loud. From talks during dinner to phone calls to Skype sessions to emails to hours of Facebook messaging…from thoughtful conversations to championing me...deepest thanks to all of you.

My friends who participated in "We Walk on the Same Ground"

Catherine Sellergren
Lisa Norton
Allisyn Levy
Kelly Kelbel
Jenna Warburton
Jill Bourne
Janna Marinelli
Crystal Thomas
Shava Lawson

My parents and my brother
Sharon and Robert Tavern and Mark Tavern

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reading and Listening

the corner of my childhood home and site of my earliest memory

My work begins with a vague idea, a translucent thought and/or a broad question based on my memories. Then I read a lot and I also listen, and as I do both, I think and take notes. The following list includes links to articles and podcasts that made an impact on me while I was developing ideas for "I Live Here Now":

porcelain escutcheon cover of the front door 
of my childhood home

lava fields covered in moss, my favorite place in Iceland

Thanks for reading.