Exhibitions

Sarah Jane Moon's Dr Ronx

In the current issue of Art North magazine, we ran a leader article on Women & Self Portraiture. Among those artists whose works were featured in the two-page article was Sarah Jane Moon with a painting titled Self (late night studio). Moon is now one of just forty-four portrait artists selected from 2,538 entries for inclusion in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The artist is an award winning professional painter who exhibits and teaches regularly in the UK and abroad, her portraiture frequently exploring identity, sexuality and gender presentation. 

Sarah Jane Moon ,  Self (late-night-studio)  Oil on Linen.

Sarah Jane Moon, Self (late-night-studio) Oil on Linen.

Moon’s painting of Emergency Medicine Doctor, Youth Advocate, and CBBC Television Presenter, Dr Ronx Ikharia, was submitted for judging by a panel that included writer and presenter Gaylene Gould, artist Gary Hume, and author Zoé Whitley. Moon has been gaining increasing attention this year and this further success follows swiftly on from her inclusion in the prestigious Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition where she was selected to exhibit two large portraits. 

Sarah Jane Moon , Dr Ronx, 2019, Cil on canvas, 130 x 100cm (Courtesy the artist)

Sarah Jane Moon, Dr Ronx, 2019, Cil on canvas, 130 x 100cm (Courtesy the artist)

The BP Portrait Award Exhibition will be held at the NPG in London from Thursday 13 June until Sunday 20 October 2019. It then tours to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (13 October – 30 November 2019) and Ulster Museum, Belfast (March – June 2020). Moon is also one of the few exhibitors who has been invited to teach a Painting Workshop at the NPG during the exhibition run (10 – 11 August).

Art North in Edinburgh

Visitors to the exhibition in Edinburgh will perhaps be no strangers to Moon’s work by the time it arrives, as they may have already seen her work in the pages of Art North, if not elsewhere. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery today confirmed their order of Art North Magazine for the gallery shop there, and so the SNPG is now also one of our main stockists in Edinburgh.

Erlend & Pamela Tait's Refractor

There is still a few days left to see Erlend & Pamela Tait’s REFRACTOR exhibition at Meffan Art Gallery and museum in Forfar. With these new works Erlend Tait and Pamela Tait take information from their surroundings and explore the space between input and output. REFRACTOR comprises Pamela's printmaking and drawings and Erlend's paintings and stained glass, plus collaborative works. A short film by Mike Hay celebrating the works of Erlend Tait & Pamela Tait is now online (see below), filmed by Mike Hay at the Meffan Art Gallery and Museum in Forfar (edited, graded and scored by Mike Hay). Presented with the ANGUSalive Meffan Exhibition Award at the Society of Scottish Artists 2018 Annual Exhibition, Erlend Tait and Pamela Tait are showing an exhibition of new work, including some collaborative pieces.

REFRACTOR | Pamela Tait & Erlend Tait

Until 8 June 2019
Meffan Museum & Gallery
20 West High Street
Forfar
DD8 1BB

Visit Erlend's website at: erlendtait.com
Visit Pamela's website at: pamelatait.co.uk

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My Own Space, Tórshavn

Here in Tórshavn the sun is shining and it is a beautiful though cold day. This Saturday the summer exhibition opens at Steinprent, which is a highpoint during the summer period – the main season for art in The Faroe Islands with many visitors, Faroese students, and others arriving. Also on Saturday, a group exhibition in Klaksvík opens, and next Saturday another exhibition featuring Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson opens at Nordic House, and we are looking forward to it.

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Steinprent's Summer Exhibition 2019 (opening Saturday 1 June at 3pm), is this year about space in art and art in space: the artists’ own space and the exhibition space itself. The exhibition title appears in an interview from the Liverpool Biennale, where the artist Hanni Bjartalíð tries to put into words the starting point of his artistic inspiration. Bjartalíð claims that his ideas come from a special place; his own room. There can be no doubt that space is fundamental in Hanni Bjartalíð‘s works – both in pictures and sculptures, but not just that. In addition to the space we experience in works of art and the space these works occupy, visual artists have their own space, and these are the spaces that form the focal point of this exhibition.

Hanni Bjartalíð   & Mie Mørkeberg

Hanni Bjartalíð & Mie Mørkeberg

Over many years Hansina Iversen, with consistency and sophistication in equal measure, has researched the possibilities of non-figurative painting, gradually developing her ‘image space’. Where the picture space in the 1990s was synonymous with form on a background (often the chalk-white primed canvas), today it appears much more complex. While individual shapes appear as two-dimensional as the surface on which they are painted, elsewhere one senses a tremendous depth and power in formations that overlap each other and which, depending on where the eye rests, appear to flit back and forth in an ever-rolling motion.

Hansina Iversen

Hansina Iversen

In connection with Hansina’s large solo exhibitions at the Art Museum and in the Listahøllin, at Tórshavn Shipyard, we have been seeing formations and brush strokes in the exhibition space itself as a murals and sculptures, where they provide a different architectural function as parts of the room. Such a mural in situ Hansina Iversen will paint for the exhibition MY OWN SPACE and we look are looking forward to that!

This is exactly what Anný Ø.Djurhuus is working on in her so-called pop up exhibitions in our parks and other places where she establishes an exhibition space and fills it with stories that are told in a dreamlike and poetic way, with different readymades presented in combination with organic natural material. We look forward to Anný's new installation work, that she makes for the exhibition, too.

Rannvá Kunoys monumental work, After History, requires the viewer to move from the exhibition space and up a flight of stairs in the gallery – a sign of a work that is and can be something special that overtakes the viewer and at the same time makes up for one of the basic principles of painting; namely to be fixed in time and space. Due to a special pigment, Kunoys’ work changes colour according to the light in the room and in relation to the viewer’s location, which together with the composition, method and size of the work, makes the actual experience of the dynamic, intangible, and even unmanageable to comprehend, and impossible to capture in a photograph. One has to give time to look at Kunoys’ paintings and dive into the jumble of picture elements assembled in several layers of letters, words, lines, and unknown sign systems. Suddenly, you find that the work opens up and falls into place in a brilliant clarified composition in perfect balance and harmony.

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Silja Strøm’s work is about both balance and equality, with her sense of social consciousness being profound. Although the images are partially figurative, one cannot divide the image space into the usual intermediate and background divisions here. Instead, all picture elements are placed on one and the same level and distributed over the entire image surface. Equality also results in interesting relationships between her figurative and abstract picture elements, where the latter seem to interact within the overall picture narrative.

Silja Strøm

Silja Strøm

Next is Zacharias Heinesen (b. 1936) and Tóroddur Poulsen (b.1957). Although they are placed at the different ends of Faroese art history and are quite different – one as the founder, the other who renews – Heinesen and Poulsen have more in common than you would think. They are both from Tórshavn and have used their hometown both visually and poetically. The former has studied his own room countless times and it is exactly the view from his own living room at Varða in Tórshavn, that his work is about.

Zacharias Heinesen

Zacharias Heinesen

This view of Tórshavn, with Nólsoy in the background, he knows better than anything else, but even though his clear image interpretations of both city and country are so convincing (we perceive them as realism) they are probably more of a form of light-inspired colourist vision with intensely pure colour dancing between violet and yellow, green and red, blue and ochre. Tóroddur Poulsen's beautiful Tórshavn pictures are also definitely colourist – here is his so-called ‘iristryk’ or iridescent ink, where the colours flow together with a myriad of decorative lines, dots, patterns and drawings, together forming a form of constructivist ornamentation that could resemble both childlike calculations and topographic aerial photographs of the city.

Tóroddur-Poulsen

Tóroddur-Poulsen

In the brothers Torbjørn Olsen and Marius Olsen's pictures, interior space is often an important part of the outside space. For Marius Olsen, it is through mirroring, for example; a lamp or other picture element occasionally enters both the viewer’s and the picture's outside space, and in the gallery, it may appear like a unidentified flying object. In the case of Torbjørn Olsen, pictures often appear in his work in a similar way to those seen in the baroque master, Velázquez. In the real world, the ‘picture within a picture’ often arises from the window in the artist's studio, which like some altarpiece paintings appears unearthly, as a form of portal into what is beyond. Torbjørn has, for this exhibition, made entirely new monumental interpretations of inner and outer space that merge.

Torbjørn Olsens

Torbjørn Olsens

In four new lithographs by Mie Mørkeberg, the picture space is fluid; here the artist places women in or around the element of water and gets the maximum out of the many layers of colour that gives the work an intense, almost tactile feel, appearing like a tapestry or a velour surface. Against this almost luxurious colour surface, it is as if the constituent parts of the image surface that are without colour form a negative (or near-abstract) space.

The picture space in Zven Balslev's lithographs also appears full and intense. The style of his figurative and abstract images is a rather raw and reminiscent of underground comics with a surreal character, where abstract and figurative are apparently presented without any higher meaning, instead possessing humour and vitality. Several of the prints that Bjørn Nørgaard has produced in Steinprent are composed of several picture, meanwhile. In the lithographic series, Everybody can be God, who are you? The space is composed over a line of text, which in most cases is a song title – for example As time goes by or There are places I remember – each being used as the title of the works, too. These phrases have more or less disappeared in the course of the graphical process under several layers of colour and motifs in the images, however, which generally lose their original clarity. In the colour haze, though, we repeatedly recognise religious figures from different cultures, on which simple strokes have been laid as a form of sign that may have some form of semiotic connection with the aforementioned song titles; Je ne regrette rien is provided with as a determined statement by the artist that he dares to stand by what he does, for example.

MY OWN SPACE is thus a varied and entertaining exhibition, which offers an idea of what is happening currently in contemporary art here in The Faroe Islands across the media of painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation.

(Translated by Ian McKay)


MY OWN SPACE | Summer Exhibition 2019

Steinprent Galleries
1 June – 3 August 2019
Tórshavn,
The Faroe Islands.

Participating visual artists are: Hanni Bjartalíð, Hansina Iversen, Anný Ø.Djurhuus, Rannvá Kunoy, Silja Strøm, Tóroddur Poulsen, Mie Mørkeberg, Zven Balslev, Marius Olsen, Bjørn Nørgaard, Zacharias Heinesen and Torbjørn Olsen. Curated by Kinna Poulsen.


Lucy Woodley's Ultima Thule

Lucy Woodley , ‘Hostile Landing’ (mixed media)

Lucy Woodley, ‘Hostile Landing’ (mixed media)

Harrowing stories about migrants and their plight have been the motivation behind Lucy Woodley’s exhibition at An Tobar Gallery  (1 June – 9 August 2019). Her exhibition of mixed media sculptures brings her work with silver and found objects to the fore, expressing her response to the subject of migration, war, violence, poverty and persecution – all of which contribute to the fact that at least one in every 122 humans on the planet are designated a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum, according to UNHCR.

Woodley’s response to the migration crisis that has been with us for some time is conveyed through the use of symbolism: showing rather than telling, yet inviting careful thought and discussion. The exhibition explores the outcomes of attempted journeys, informed by the emotive combination of hope, anticipation, fear and trepidation; telling a timeless story spanning centuries, of migrants seeking a better life for loved ones. As she states of Between a Rock and a Hard Place, “the work is inspired by Þingvellir in Iceland, a chasm created by the separation of two tectonic plates and the idea of people being stuck between countries borders.”

Lucy Woodley , ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ (mixed media).

Lucy Woodley, ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ (mixed media).

“Our world is in flux, says the artist. “We are being forced into reconfiguring our borders and along with them our identities. Ultima Thule, is my way of exploring the themes around migration, the hope and the trepidation that comes with any journey that traverses known and unknown territories. In the context of a dehumanising rhetoric around immigration, I encourage empathy by means of storytelling. In exploring the humanity behind these journeys, the boat is seen abandoned, deserted and empty, or elevated as on object of reverence and place of worship. The fish is an ancient symbol of faith and hope with the black bird as an ominous onlooker observing the displaced.” Of the work titled ‘Precious Cargo’ (below), she adds: “The boat in this piece is full of Groatie Buckies which are cowrie shells found on local beaches in Sutherland and Caithness. Over three thousand years ago cowrie shells were widely used as currency in China and India.”

Lucy Woodley , ‘Precious Cargo’ (mixed media).

Lucy Woodley, ‘Precious Cargo’ (mixed media).


Lucy Woodley | Ultima Thule

ComarAn Tobar Gallery
1 June – 9 August, 2019
(Opening: 1 June. 6-8pm)
Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

Lucy Woodley graduated from Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen in 1992 where she studied jewellery. She ran a successful jewellery business for twenty years based in the Highlands and now  concentrates on sculptural works.

AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland

There is still time to catch AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland (see dates below) – an exhibition of work celebrating new and diverse approaches to photographic image making. The participating artists, whose work is shown across two venues, demonstrates wide-ranging thematic interests and employs varied techniques and processes, from drone photography to black & white darkroom printing and camera-less photography. The exhibited works have been made in a broad range of locations, from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Ethiopia, Orkney and the Isle of Lewis. Several of the artists are exhibiting new work or work in progress for the exhibition.

Brittonie Fletcher ,  Grasses, North then West , Silver gelatine 2018. (© Brittonie Fletcher)

Brittonie Fletcher, Grasses, North then West, Silver gelatine 2018. (© Brittonie Fletcher)

Among those exhibiting in Edinburgh, from Orkney and Lewis comes work by Brittonie Fletcher, Mhairi Law and Frances Scott. Meanwhile, in Glasgow, a contrasting record of contemporary Scotland is offered by Iain Sarjeant. While being based in the Highlands, Sarjeant has travelled the length and breadth of the country to create a startling yet understated document of everyday Scotland, focussing attention on common yet often overlooked landscapes to create a visual record of a nation in flux.

Mhairi Law ,  The Darkest Dawn , 2018. (© Mhairi Law)

Mhairi Law, The Darkest Dawn, 2018. (© Mhairi Law)

Mhairi Law’s, The Darkest Dawn, consists of five photographs produced to commemorate the centenary of the HMY lolaire disaster that took place on the 1st January 1919 off the coast of the Isle of Lewis; Brittonie Fletcher presents a range of new work, made using alternative photographic processes, inspired by her time on an artist’s research residency in Orkney; and Frances Scott is exhibiting work informed by the hours she has spent walking the coastline of the Orkney archipelago, photographing, mapping and writing about each section in turn as a way of claiming a new connection with the place where she grew up.

Frances Scott ,  Papa Westray , 2018. (© Frances Scott)

Frances Scott, Papa Westray, 2018. (© Frances Scott)

A full list of exhibitors taking part can be found below. AMBIT is a partnership between Stills, Edinburgh, and Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow: two of Scotland’s public venues dedicated to photography. The exhibition is presented across both venues and is a joint venture aimed at showcasing some of the current tendencies and innovative talent from the photography sector in Scotland.

Iain Serjeant ,  Drumochter, Highlands - 17/03/2013  (© Iain Serjeant)

Iain Serjeant, Drumochter, Highlands - 17/03/2013 (© Iain Serjeant)


AMBIT | Photographies from Scotland

Street Level Photoworks
Glasgow
Until 23 June 2019
Edyta MajewskaIain SarjeantCsilla KozmaKaty Hundertmark, and Matthew Arthur Williams.

Stills
Edinburgh
Until 2 June, 2019
Kieran Dodds, Brittonie Fletcher, Alex Hall, Morwenna Kearsley,
Mhairi Law
and Frances Scott