For the first time, SPECTA presents a solo exhibition by the Icelandic painter Thordis Adalsteinsdottir. Animals, battered people and people in existential crisis are introduced directly and confronting in graphically simple and beautiful paintings, which are extraordinary intimate and relevant.
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir builds her paintings as ornamented background surfaces contributing to an immediate sense of a two dimensional universe. At the same time the repetitions of delicate and thorough details in the ornaments create an atmosphere of eternity in time and space. Simple main motifs, added much smaller elements from other scenes leave a sense of tension, and at times a dreamlike condition, where anything can happen.
For the exhibition in SPECTA Thordis Adalsteinsdottir will make a site specific wall piece – a mural. Further more a number of paintings are presented, a.o. a series of oval paintings illustrating scenes from The Old Testament – a number of stories about violent events in the lives of ordinary people. Again stories which represent existential issues like love, death, sorrow and abuse.
Adalsteinsdottir’s paintings are not the happy images of perfect people – she paints regular people, with true feelings, silently but strongly communicating their despair, their unhappiness, their physical and mental wounds, and their deep inner crisis. The characters attract attention and keeps it – they look directly at you, confronting and exposed, and you take part in their pain and irresolution.
In other words, the viewer is drawn in to the most intimate sphere of Thordis Adalsteinsdottir’s characters, meeting the darker sides of life. With only a few, but strong effects Thordis Adalsteinsdottir manages to create a depressing yet attractive balance between peace and conflict, satire and gravity. Adalsteinsdottir presents no conclusions in her paintings, nor does she reject her characters – she introduces a series of circumstances which indicate a story or a course of events without judging their justification. That question is for the viewer to reflect upon and relate to.
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir (b. 1975, IS) has attended the Art Academies of Iceland, Barcelona and New York, where she is currently living. Thordis Adalsteinsdottir participates at this years Carnegie Art Award, which opens in Copenhagen on April 17th. Among her past solo exhibitions are: 2007: You feel like an angel, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LA, And they followed him, Kobayashi Gallery, Tokyo, The myth of course, is that there will be some survivors, Nordatlantens Brygge, Copenhagen. 2006: The myth, of course, is that there will be some survivors, The Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, A Cheerful reminder of our lives and loves; New Paintings, Stefan Stux gallery, N.Y., Celebration of the Lambing Season, and Open Letter to Botna, Dandruff Space and Shroud, Brooklyn, NY. 2005: Paintings 101 Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland. 2004: New Paintings and video, Stefan Stux Gallery, New York. The exhibition is made in collaboration with Stux Gallery, N.Y.