Earth, sky, sea, fire, ice. These are words for the natural phenomena that surround us, though modern society has in some sense distanced us from these fundamental forces, which create our existence.
The technological society strives to insulate our world from the merciless forces of nature, but is constantly reminded that it is indeed powerless against it.
Human beings have always been fascinated with nature´s unexplicable forces, which are often believed to be supernatural. That is where our faith in a higher power that we must obey, meets our freedom to be, to be a human being that is its own creative force.
In Guðmunda´s paintings there is a strong connection with untamable nature, which Icelanders know so well, where the primal forces do battle.
Eruption and unstability, the bold use of colors combined with a fierce texture create paintings which summon a vision of lava, volcanic eruptions, glaciers, the ruthless sea or a thundering sky.
But it is not only the immensity of nature the viewer observes but the delicate aspects as well.
Guðmunda´s romantic vision is in the spirit of what Robert Rosenblum focuses on in his book, Modern Paintings and the Northern Romantic Tradition, which is the leap between the infinitely small and the infinitely large, from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic.
This vision suggests that the divine, the creator, appears as a part of our world rather than beyond it, a vision that the forces of nature are divine.
This idea reveals a perspective which is partially pagan, like Rosenblum points out, and has particularly strong roots in Nordic culture, such as from Norse mythology.
The painter who approaches his work from this point of view is a catalyst, he allows the work to guide him into the uncertainty of his own actions, a neverending adventure which is conceived in each moment of his creation.
What comes to life on the canvas is the painter´s own inner conflict which is a parallel to the constant battle of the forces of nature.
In that way the painting becomes a sort of smaller version of the ever vibrant nature that we live within.
Guðmunda´s method is interesting because of the original way she presents unusual materials such as ash or paper and blends them with the oil paint.
This opens a new dimension for the interpretation of her work, whereas those added materials are loaded with meaning, at the same time that they create an unbelievably complex texture.
Though nature is omnipresent in Guðmunda´s work, they are not landscape paintings, rather pieces of art which demand an independent existence, without being considered an imitation or replica.
Her paintings are unapologetic and powerful and require the same from the viewer.

  • Guðmunda Kristinsdóttir
    Guðmunda Kristjánsdóttir