That Which Remains: Reflections of Rural Iceland

From the first moment I set foot in Iceland, I was in love. As an American artist, whose work has, for about a decade, focused on the found beauty of abandoned architecture that is reclaimed by nature, I was taken by the stark beauty of Iceland’s abandoned farmhouses, nestled amid its awe-inspiring landscapes.

My work starts with my photographs which reflect on the things and places we leave behind; the structures we build to stand the test of time, and then abandon, say so much about our human condition and raise questions about who we are and what will be our legacy.

Nature ultimately reclaims the structures we build – signs of the transient nature of reality. The process of printmaking feels much like that as well – when I pull ink across a screen, the print is that which remains – it’s the evidence of the experience of pulling the print, much like the evidence of human habitation is its constructed environment. Printmaking affords me the ability to print a particular abandoned structure repeatedly and, in doing so, allows a forgotten place a chance to tell its story in multiple ways.

The work on display at Duus Museum is the result of two artist residencies, in April of 2016 and March of 2017. I was invited by Andi and Yukiyo Fischer, owners of Guesthouse 1x6 in Keflavik, to come and produce a body of work inspired by Iceland, and to produce a series of paintings for the guesthouse. Within the span of a week, I went on several photographic expeditions, which took me around the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and to Vik. I took some of those photographs and burned them to silkscreens, which I then printed over my acrylic paintings that were inspired by the landscapes I witnessed. Both in 2016 and in 2017, I ended my residencies by providing workshops at Bokasafn Reykjanesbaer, wherein participants were invited to print from my silkscreens and gelatin printing plates in order to create their own unique works of art. Iceland continues to be a strong inspiration for my work, and this body of work continues to evolve. Five of the works were created here in Iceland at 1x6, while the rest were created in my home studio in Pennsylvania, where I spent many hours longing for my return to this beautiful and inspiring land. I am deeply moved by a spiritual connection to the Icelandic landscape, as well as the kindness and generosity of the Icelandic people I’ve gotten to know during my stay. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this work with you.