Bera Nordal, gallery i8, prologue 2003
The nature of Iceland has been the main focus of Icelandic art since the eve of modern art and this still is in spite of its strong international influence. Its enormous power and magical quality makes it a constant inspiration and source of ideas for artists regardless of the media they work in and their diverse result. This has also been the case throughout Guðrún Einarsdóttir´s painting.
Iceland is a country harsh, severe and bare, hiding nothing from the observer. Most other countries are covered by vegetation that blurs details and outlines. We are therefore extremely aware of the ever-changing surface of the land prey to all weathers, winds and natural forces. The formal aspect of the landscape’s endless open spaces, the water in its dramatic transformations, the ground with its incessant tactile qualities and infinite depths and variety of its colours is a continuous visual stimulation that has provided Guðrún Einarsdóttir with stream of ideas. She either adopts a bird´s eye view of the unending stretches of lava fields and desert sands, vast mountains and glaciers, or she imitates the snail and burrows into grassy knolls, into earth and sand.
At first sight Guðrún Einarsdóttir´s paintings seem to be flat and monochrome in colour, and almost minimal in appearance and expression. Further scrutiny, however, reveals incessant movement, irregular forms of and a variety of colours. We sense how she tackles this extraordinary country – that later merges with her strong emotions and visual experience, conscious or subconscious, and the creative force itself. We feel how these strong emotions and experiences penetrate the surface of her paintings, that she builds up in multiple layers and force their way upwards. Thus the surface becomes massive and tactile because she does not open it up, but it physically thrusts itself upward like charged energy forces its way out of a hot spring or a volcano. The result is a strong three-dimensional impression of a relief rather than a painting on canvas.
The series of paintings shown in this exhibition illustrate the most important characteristics of Guðrún Einarsdóttir´s works: rich tactile qualities, infinite depth of colour. She becomes part of nature and the works part of her. Thus her works touches very different parts of our senses. We want to touch, smell and even absorb them.
Guðrún Einarsdóttir´s works are extremely personal. They are memories and concepts of the nature, so simplified that only the essence remains. They are transformations of the land, its inner power, constant diversity and magic. One might call his transformation, from a concept and direct visual experience to a new reality in a two-dimensional form, a transfer of emotional and physical energy. It gives her works an unusual depth and resonance and makes them physically very present. Fundamentally they are, however, about the struggle of survival where nature becomes a metaphor for the serious ecological and environmental problems facing us today. This adds a social and political dimension to her works that further strengthens their inner value.
Guðrún Einarsdóttir works, however, within the very narrow confines of oil painting that is both difficult and dangerous. Because of her sensitivity, perseverance and limitless determination she is nevertheless able to transfer new energy and dimension into this charged medium. These changes are not always immediately visible but become obvious when we look at her oeuvre over a longer period. In this sense time, as an important element, appears in her works – both as a time span between them but also as a time span in her experience of nature. Her works can therefore be seen as a continuous evolution, but each of them life a very independent life.