The exhibition The Life in the Land features recent work by Anna Líndal (Icelandic, born 1957) and Erling Sjovold (American, born 1961). Líndal lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland, and creates installation, video, and mixed media art that addresses themes of exploration, gender, national identity, and the production of knowledge by both artists and scientists. Sjovold, Associate Professor of Art, University of Richmond, creates paintings and photographs that consider the materiality and history embedded, conveyed, and lost within the glaciers of Iceland. Across both artists’ work is a persistent quest to understand the imperceptible, proposing a role for the artist within society’s drive towards knowledge.
The title of the exhibition comes from a passage in an artist’s book from 2014 by Líndal, which reads,
"The earth is restless in Iceland. Some form of movement, often within a volcano or glacier, which occasionally leads to more serious unrest. The life of the land is always with MTG and me, both at home and when we travel together. It is some form of a presence, which takes up space, perhaps like a third person in the relationship."
This restlessness or inner-life of Iceland’s landscape, with its distinctive geography of volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, and beaches, has been the subject of much of Líndal’s work. Participating in annual expeditions with the Icelandic Glaciological Society since 1997, Líndal considers how the environment is empirically studied and recorded, questioning the verity of measuring the land without also measuring ourselves within it. On a recent expedition to the Grímsvötn volcano, which last erupted in 2011, Líndal swam in the large water-filled crater while others in her party used mechanical and digital devices to study the lake, using her body as a measuring device to experience the icy cold conditions and buoyancy of the water, as pictured in one of the images in the exhibition. An earlier multi-channel video installation in the show, “Borders,” from 2000, addresses the deep kinship between Iceland’s sense of national identity and its landscape, probing the separations maintained between nature and the body, natural resources and the domestic, and between the land and its various representations.
Sjovold’s work in this exhibition was inspired by a summer 2013 residency at the Hafnarborg Centre of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjörŏur, Iceland. In the Lora Robins Gallery are works on paper featuring watercolor, acrylic, and black sand gathered on the beaches of Vík, the southernmost village in Iceland. As in the art by Líndal, Sjovold’s ethereal images of glaciers, some in brilliant hues and others primarily in cool blues and whites, relate to the theme of perpetual restlessness in the land, recalling the chunks of ice floating in Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland. All of the artist’s work in this exhibition was created within the past year, including a large site-specific triptych that encompasses an entire wall, filling one’s line of vision with watery shapes that become darker and more inscrutable and less delineated as the image progresses from left to right. At the International Gallery, Sjovold created a two-dimensional photographic installation titled “Glyphs and Glaciers,” featuring images of Icelandic glacier fragments and of Egyptian hieroglyphics from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, suggesting a relationship between these two forms as texts that record a history of place, one by natural forces and the other by humans.
From February 16 through the 27th, Líndal was a visiting artist at the University of Richmond, participating in the exhibition’s opening events and engaging with The Parking Lot Project, a university-wide, collaborative, interdisciplinary, site-specific creative project led by Sjovold and executed by UR students, faculty, and staff that meditates on environmental sustainability.
Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums, and Kenta Murakami, ’15, art history major, University of Richmond, and the 2014-2015 Curatorial Assistant, University Museums. The exhibition and programs are made possible in part with the support of the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee and the Office of International Education. All images and artworks courtesy of the artists.
Anna LÍndal, June 5th 2013, 2013, chromogenic print on aluminum, 23 1/2 x 36 1/2 inches
Anna LÍndal, Outrider, 2014, chromogenic print on aluminum, 13 x 19 1/2 inches
Anna LÍndal, Outrider, 2014, chromogenic print on aluminum, 13 x 19 1/2 inches
Anna LÍndal, Borders, 2000, video and mixed media
Erling Sjovold, Your Unfinished Water, 2014, watercolor, acrylic, and sand on polypropylene paper, triptych 26 x 60 inches overall
Erling Sjovold, Bloom, 2014, watercolor, acrylic, and sand on polypropylene paper, triptych 26 x 60 inches overall
Erling Sjovold, Ghost, 2015, watercolor, acrylic, and sand on polypropylene paper with cast aluminum
Erling Sjovold, Glyphs and Glaciers (detail), 2015, chromogenic print on paper
Martín Bonadeo "Reflection"
Tyler Haynes Commons, University of Richmond, February 5 to 9, 2015
Argentinian artist Martín Bonadeo's site-specific art installation “Reflection,” consisted of blue electroluminescent wires attached to MDF pieces that were laser-cut to represent the shapes of rivers in South America, but presented upside-down. The three-story tall work was hung from the ceiling of the Commons and remained lit the entire run of the project, at night being reflected right-side-up in the Westhampton Lake.
“Reflection” was presented by the University of Richmond Museums with support from the following departments and campus units: Department of Art & Art History; Department of Latin American, Latino & Iberian Studies; American Studies Program; Office of International Education; University Facilities; University Events, Conferences, and Support Services; the Student Activities Office; and the Cultural Affairs Committee.
Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape
Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums, January 15 to March 6, 2015
— Denis Cosgrove, Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape, 1998
This exhibition presented work by international artists, artist collectives, and game developers who examine, challenge, and re-define the concept of the landscape genre while simultaneously drawing attention to humanity’s hubristic attempts to represent, preserve, and ultimately control the natural environment. Through abstraction and simulation, parody and pastiche, the artists explore the ways in which we relate to the land, working in video, installation, video games, and traditional two- and three-dimensional work.
All of the works in this exhibition were created since 2000, to focus on art made well after the initial developments of the modern and popular discourse on environmentalism and sustainability. The exhibition’s title Anti-Grand suggests an approach to the topic that is opposite one of awe and reverie of the past, approaches that are now difficult to consider without an implicit sense of irony. Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape emphasizes the role of the artist’s and/or viewer’s choice of framing device as applied to both the represented scenery and the genre at large. Engaging humor, tenderness, ambivalence, and respect, these artists look at many facets of this subject. Unifying the exhibition are issues of representation that are inherent to the genre and the various ways in which artists have self-reflexively considered their relationship to the artistic subject.
Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was co-curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, and Kenta Murakami, ’15, art history major and 2014-2015 Curatorial Assistant, University Museums. The exhibition, programs, and accompanying publication are made possible in part with funding from the University of Richmond’s Cultural Affairs Committee, the Dean’s Office of the School of Arts and Sciences, the 2014-2015 Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts, hosted by the Department of Art and Art History in collaboration with University Museums, and the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. The printed and online exhibition catalogues are made possible in part with support from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Installation images by David Hershey.
This website offers a selection of the 32 works of art by the 24 artists and artists collectives included in the exhibition. To see all the works, go to www.antigrand.com
Patrick Jacobs, Parasitic Bolete with Pine Cones, 2014, diorama viewed through 2.75 in window, 12.75 x 18.50 x 11.5 in., Styrene, acrylic, cast neoprene, paper, ash, talc, starch, polyurethane foam, acrylite, vinyl film, wood, steel, lighting, and BK7 glass, artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Katrín Elvarsdóttir, Vanished Summer 32, 2013, archival pigment printed on paper, 50 x 75 cm (19.6 x 29.5 inches), artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Justin Berry, Brook, 2012, digital c-print, 48 x 72 inches, artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Linda Lynch, detail from Untitled (From Smithson’s Jetty), 2009, drawing on paper, ink and gouache on paper, 5 x 21 inches, 12.7 x 53.3 cm, Collection of the Sally & Wynn Kramarsky Collection, Image courtesy of the artist and Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, photograph by Peter Muscato
Institute of Critical Zoologists (Robert Zhao Renhui), Expedition #10, from the series Some Kind of Expedition, 2011, Inkjet print on vinyl on aluminum, 43 3/4 x 29, 111cm x 74cm, artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Adam Cvijanovic, All the Wine I Ever Drank I Drank at Sea, 2010, acrylic on Tyvek [on panel], 48 x 96 inches, Courtesy of Art Pension Trust and Postmasters Gallery, New York, image courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, New York
Matthew Brandt, Mono Lake CA B4, 2012, c-print soaked in Mono Lake water 72 x 105 inches, Collection of Meredith and Brother Rutter, image courtesy of the artist and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles,
Jesse McLean, Climbing, 2009, video, 6 minutes, artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Ed Key with David Kanaga, composer, Still from Proteus, 2013, video game, artwork and image courtesy of the artist
Kim Keever, Hawaii 0983c, 2013, archival pigment print, 30 x 43 inches, artwork and image courtesy of the artist and Adamson Gallery, Washington DC
Tom McGrath, Untitled, 2005, oil on canvas over panel, 56 x 96 inches, Collection of Sue Scott and Mike Stanley, image courtesy of the artist and Sue Scott and Mike Stanley
Guy Laramée, The Grand Library, 2004, altered book, pigment, metal stand, 8 feet x 21 x 44 inches, artwork and image courtesy of the artist and JHB Gallery, New York
Co-curated with Erling Sjovold, Assoc. Professor of Art, University of Richmond, this exhibition featured contemporary work that explored the relationship between text and form. Artists included William Bell, Kell Alexander Black, Philip Brou, Hsin-Hsi Chen, Brigham Dimick, Suzanna Fields, Ron Johnson, Christopher Lesnewski, Martha MacLeish, Jim Mullen, Ben Pranger, Ann Rentschler, Claire Watkins, and Shannon Young. Click here to download the exhibition catalogue. Click here for a review the the Richmond Times Dispatch.
All artworks courtesy of the artists, installation images courtesy of 1708 Gallery and Travis Fullerton.