Skagaströnd, and all the wonderful people I have met here, will always hold a very special place in my heart.
During my time here at the Nes residency, I have been working on a series of paintings, drawings and installation works, exploring the ideas of a living landscape and the substance of light.
As the end of March looms nearer, I must start to finish my projects, document them, and give the oil paints time to dry before packaging it all up and posting it home to Australia. I will post the photographs of my work on the blog soon, but in the mean time, here are a few of the small painting experiments I have been working on, looking at the relationship between the earth, the sky and snow clouds.
In exchange for running the workshop at Sauðárkrókur, I received two beautiful Icelandic sheep’s skins from the Sauðárkrókur tannery. Since then, I have been creating more triangle drawings working directly onto the sheep’s skins with pen. These triangles are based on sky maps of the stars above Skagaströnd. The first drawing (pictured) is based on the star map for my birth date, and the second, which I am yet to begin, will use a star map for September, around the time in Iceland when the sheep are rounded up so that the lambs can be slaughtered for meat and skins. Part of my explorations here is to do with the experience of the sublime, and in these drawings I hope to explore connections between individuals, place and the unknown. Until fairly recently in Iceland, sheep’s intestines were used to predict weather patterns for the coming year. I find this connection between the physicality of a body and more abstract concepts such as the nature of the universe very intriguing. A connection drawn between the small, and the unimaginably large.
This week I was lucky enough to spend a day at the college/high school in Sauðárkrókur, running an art workshop for a group of students. During this whole week the student representative council is organising all sorts of activities that the students are not usually able to do at the school such as art classes, sea swimming (they must be crazy!), excursions to the shooting range and many more activities. For my workshop I decided that it would be nice to set up a bit of a cultural exchange between the Iceland and my home country, Australia. We worked with the themes of place and story-telling, first looking at how these operate in Indigenous Australian art, and then applying them to the landscape of Iceland and the personal, cultural and historical stories of the students. We made paintings, did some basket weaving, and to finish up the day we made some Icelandic sheep skin sculptures with the surprise sheep skins that arrived with our materials. I would like to thank the school once again for the opportunity to work with such a great group of creative people!