An exhibition of contemporary textile art by Nordic and Shetland artists exploring the theme of lighten Bonhoga Gallery Shetland
Lighten Shetland Arts Development Agency Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0WQ T: +44 (0) 1595 743 843 F: +44 (0) 1595 694 001 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.shetlandarts.org
GALLERY SHOP â€˘ CAFE
Bonhoga Gallery 3 August - 15 September 2013
Contents Introduction 4 Lighten 5 Agneta Hobin 7 Karin Pennanen 11 Ulla-Maija Vikman 13 Kristiina Wiherheimo 17 Gudrún Gunnarsdóttir 21 Anna Líndal 25 Kerstin Lindström 29 Bente Saetrang 33 Kari Guddal 37 Barbara Ridland 41 Jeanette Nowak 45 The Artists 48 Acknowledgements 54
Introduction Hazel Hughson Shetland’s contemporary textile culture is developing across a broad spectrum: traditional handknitting, ideas expressed in textile form, textile craft product and new technologies for design and production. To inform and inspire this development, it seems natural to look north and east to our Nordic neighbours, to countries with contemporary textiles advanced from a similar textile heritage. ‘Lighten’ is an international group exhibition of small textile works by ten contemporary artists who have interpreted the theme of ‘lighten’ from a northern perspective. Each artist is exhibiting up to five pieces, approximately within 20 x 20 x 20cms in size. Three artists are from Finland, two are from Iceland, two from Shetland, and one each from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The exhibition was initiated by artists Agneta Hobin of Finland, and Gudrun Gunnarsdóttir of Iceland. Agneta Hobin had exhibited in ‘Portage: textiles in extremes of scale’ at Bonhoga Gallery, and visited Shetland in 2010 when the international
connection began. An email conversation continued between Shetland, Finland and Iceland to develop the project. Many textile groups and individuals in Shetland, were included by Shetland Arts in their international arts development project or ‘festival’. A collaborative conference, textile tours and other community events have emerged alongside the exhibition, for networking and making connections, developing Shetland as a gateway for artistic research and northern cultural exchange. The exhibition, at Shetland Arts’ Bonhoga Gallery, will run from 3 August to 15 September 2013, and forms the basis of the Shetland Arts International Textile Festival with a Nordic theme. Hazel Hughson Shetland Arts Development Agency July 2013
Jane Matthews Much has been written about links and traditions that exist between the countries that shoulder the Arctic; trading routes, fishing, folklore, linguistics and suggested isolation. Almost certainly the influences are strengthened by the exaggerated extremes of season and light. Not just of summer, as the light pirouettes on its June points and whirls of breeding seabirds and exploding meadows of wildflowers rise up in response, but also of the gloam of winter, with its histrionic tempers and sulking damp. Aurora borealis is not even the half of it. Late summer’s lingering dusk over an open bay with its brightly clad houses and pale-lime shaved fields is transformed by November into a composition of indigo swallowed to black with a constellation of yellow house lights. The cooler draughts and the dewy smell of autumn is palpable by early September. This exaggerated cycle of the seasons at these northern latitudes evokes clear reminiscences of the past, of family migration to summer houses and work associated with the good weather. In her classic The Summer Book of 1972, the Finnish author Tove Jansson writes about
August, noting that, “things begin to shift position in order to follow the seasons. Day by day, everything moves closer to the house”. In Danish “man holder mørkning” describes a specific time when darkness falls, before the candle or lamp is lit. Whilst much has been written about the idiosyncracies of life and culture at this latitude, it is rare to have the opportunity to explore these connections visually, through the eyes of the artists who live and work under its influences. What started out as a ‘northern conversation’ has transferred into the gallery, giving form to these distinctions of light, dark and seasonality. Artists from Iceland, Shetland, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden provide their interpretations of this theme in what offers new ways to view our identity, connectivity and existence under enhanced skies. Jane Matthews Artist, Shetland July 2013
Agneta Hobin 6
Alchemia (detail) 2013
Gold leaf on wood 5 pieces, each 20 x 20 cm
Agneta Hobin Finland
It occurs to me that throughout my career IÂ´ve been using sheets, different kinds of sheets. Firstly, when I made designs for textile prints I used sheets of paper. Then came the mica-sheets, which were interwoven with metal wire. And now finallyÂ I use sheets of gold leaf attached to wooden reliefs.
Karin Pennanen Finland
ALCHEMIA, a working process A film by Karin Pennanen, Finland A film follows Agneta Hobin’s working process on the piece “Alchemia”. An abstract idea meets the material leaf gold in the mind and hands of an artist who has experimented with the expression of gold for tens of years.
Ulla-Maija Vikman 12
Ray Viscose, wire
Ulla-Maija Vikman Finland
I construct my works without weaving, by painting threads. It is rewarding to paint viscose, because it is shiny and reflects light beautifully. The surface of viscose is the same to me as the canvas to a painter. Movements in the surrounding air can give the pieces a kinetic effect and life.
Kristiina Wiherheimo 16
Grandmother & Grandfather, Great Grandmother & Great Grandfather, Twins Gunvor & Gudrun. 2013
Silk fabric, felted wool fabric, painted wood, metal, glass. 20 x 15 cm
Kristiina Wiherheimo Finland
The beauty of cloth, the feel of the material and the surface, and the calm quality of a simple weave are basic matters that derive from traditional textiles. They have helped me find the right material and technique, even though I do not come anywhere near to always using thread or fibre in my works. Painted wood or the scratched surface of glass can also look like fabric. The warp, weft and weave form a universal structure that is also significant in terms of expression, when you are seeking to create both concrete and symbolic form. The cloth itself is inspiring. The sound of it, the reflections of light and shadows on its surface â€“ the folds, weaves, colours and figures are always in my focus, as well as the drama and the mysteriousness of a curtain. Â Nevertheless only the subjective vision can make any work interesting and meaningful as art.
Gudr煤n Gunnarsd贸ttir Fairhair no. i 2013
Gudr煤n Gunnarsd贸ttir Fairhair no. V 2013
Horsehair and wire
Gudrún Gunnarsdóttir Iceland
I did a little research to find links between Iceland and the Shetland Islands. One such link could be Harald the Fairhair (Haraldur Hárfagri), a Norwegian king who caused many vikings to flee Norway and settle in other lands including Shetland and Iceland. Most of the vikings who settled in Iceland came from Norway, meaning that, far back, we are probably sisters and brothers. My works are made of horsehair and wire, the darkest one reflecting on darker times in Shetland, while the other works are less heavy, brighter and more cheerful. The works lighten, and the different shades of horsehair threads and the space between lines might tell an untold ancient story.
Anna LĂndal 24
5.6.2013 (detail) 2013
Linen and thread and water sample 4 x 22 x 22 cm
Anna Líndal Iceland
The work consists of maps made with embroidery on linen, and a water sample. The water was collected from the crater lake of the ice covered Grímsvötn caldera, within the glacier Vatnajökull in Iceland. Since 1997 I have taken part in annual expeditions of the Icelandic Glaciological Society (Jöklarannsóknafélag Íslands) to Vatnajökull, looking into the roles of the pioneers and scientists. Through the use of the video camera and the sketchbook, changes in the glacier and the land resulting from volcanic eruptions are explored and the relationship between the scientific observers and their object of research is analysed. This work is directly driven by my diary entries, and presents a precise map of my swimming in the crater on June 5th, 2013. Using the overlap between textile traditions and mapmaking, I explore questions of gender, geography, mapping and cartography, as well as the relationship between the artist and the patriarchal heritage. When I embroider a map I claim the land. I always know where I am in the area; the glacier is in my lap.
Kerstin Lindstrรถm Sweden
The winter is long in northern Sweden. The snow settles over the landscape and embeds the people. The darkness can be compact. Short moments it lightens.
Kerstin Lindstrรถm 30
November 17th at 11 am, Landscape: November 17th at 11 am, Human Steel, Felt & Wire 20 x 20 x 20 cm
January 9th at 11 pm, Landscape: January 9th at 11 pm, Human Steel, Felt & Wire 20 x 20 x 20 cm
Bente Saetrang 32
Early Morning View (detail) 2013
Textile, wood, prints, embroidery frames, acrylic, collage and stitching 20 x 20 cm
Bente Saetrang Norway
My project has the title ‘arriving Lerwick in the early morning’ and refers to my first trip to Shetland in 2007 when I was a crew member on a sailing yacht with friends, going from Oslo to Greenland. We arrived in the early morning, the sun was shining and everyone in Lerwick was still sleeping. It was a relief to arrive after nights and days with heavy rain and strong winds. Beautiful Shetland received Norwegian sailors once again. I was fascinated by the big black boot on a wall in the harbour. The skipper went to Albert building with our passports and we spent the day walking around in Lerwick before taking off to Torshavn the next day. This is the background for my little Shetland frieze. Normally I work in big formats, like 3 x 3 m or more. It was a big challenge for me to go down to 20 x 20 cm. The Shetland experience helped me going into the project.
Kari Guddal 36
Lighten, Violet 2013
Wool dyed by the artist, with flax and flax warp 20 x 20 cm
Kari Guddal Denmark
Lighten is a key word not only in my works but also in my way of living. In the conduct of my daily life, I only use the clock when I have to catch a plane or a train. In my tapestries I try to create light out of the darkness. In one huge work called “Homage à R.” I refer to the painter Rembrandt because he was the master, he was the one who could conjure the light. A Danish painter Oluf Høst once said: “you won`t get the sun by painting all in yellow”. Now I´m excited about the light of Shetland.
Kari Guddal 38
Lighten, Green; Lighten, Violet; Lighten, Blue. 2013
Wool dyed by the artist, with flax and flax warp, three works each 20 x 20 cm
Barbara Ridland 40
Lighten & Lyrical 2013
Screenprint of knitted textile, card
Various thoughts have gone into this exhibition ‘Lighten’: the idea of North as a frontier (Ultima Thule); a place of marvels and dangers; a distant place located beyond the borders of the known world encompassing the idea of provincialism; a place where people live with the elements. Boundaries contribute to a protracted North, where Orkney and Shetland sometimes enter into the Nordic provinces and sometimes don’t. The idea of flight (migratory patterns of birds) has been a recurring theme in my textiles as a metaphor for something that moves freely between the Nordic countries. My art works for this exhibition combine the concept of flight and the up-lifting Nordic light, dispersing any idea of darkness and land wrapped in mist and cloud. I have created printed cardboard sculptures (boxes). The shape of the boxes has been influenced by a recent art research trip I spent in Rome, where the architecture of the metropolis is grounded and strong. The forms seem to try to catch the light and the quick movement of flight. There is as much contrast between the shape and the print as there is between Rome and Thule, and yet they seem to need each other.
I have worked on this exhibition in collaboration with Jono Sandilands, graphic designer and experienced printmaker. He added another dimension to the sculptures by introducing light within them, triggered by movement.
Jeanette Nowak 44
The transition period of twilight at mid-summer in Shetland
Woven heather ball with coiled copper inclusions. 20 x 20 x 20 cm
Jeanette Nowak Shetland
My heather spheres have no beginning and no ending, like the continuous cycle of the seasons from dark of winter to the lightness of summer. They too will be affected by the light; drying, fading and changing. I live on Yell, a Shetland island that has an abundance of heather – so this was the natural choice of medium for me to use in my new work. I also used Hairmoss and Bog Cotton, both readily available near my house. My main inspiration for the ‘Lighten’ exhibition comes from the rich Shetland dialect and the words and phrases that describe specific light conditions pertaining to the weather, and the way that light can transform the land. My strong connection to the land constantly feeds my art and I am also led by the plants themselves, their characteristics and how they change, evolve, weather and withstand the extremes of climate through growth, decay and rebirth. The plant fibres in my work now exist in a new form but they carry with them a residue of what they once were and where they have come from. I hope I have succeeded in doing justice to these plants and the wonderfully descriptive words in the Shetland dialect, interweaving the language with the land and capturing their essence in my work.
Simmermal Dance, Rivin O Da Dim, Simmerdim, Flukkra, Simmer Blink. 2013
Heather root, hairmoss, coiled copper, gold leaf, coloured wire, cloth, wild cotton & mica shards. 20 x 20 x 20 cm
The Artists Agneta Hobin takes her inspiration from Finnish nature, from its colours, structures and light; snow, ice and water. Her works have an architectural presence and luminous shimmering quality. She is the recipient of several awards, including The Nordic Award in Textiles in 2001. Ulla-Maija Vikman paints viscose threads stretched like a warp on a table. After a steam finishing of dye, she knots the threads at the top into a frame with the fibres falling freely into space forming a dense and varied colour surface. Slight movement of the threads gives a kinetic effect to the shimmering pieces, reflecting light. Kristiina Wiherheimo is a researcher and artist with a background in textile design. She is inspired by the big skies and wide horizons of Northern Finland. She works on a large scale using block colour, light and shadow to explore the play of changing light on surfaces. Kristiina employs a wide range of working techniques, processes and materials, placing particular emphasis on selecting the right materials for each piece.
Agneta Hobin Moonlight 1989 Textile 253 x 300 cm
TUCURUĂŒ 2012 Viscose & painting 205 x 190 x 2 cm Bottom:
Lines 2009 Painted wood 64 x 180 x 5 cm
Gudrun Gunnarsdottir Hnyklahnoรฐ 2009 Metal wire variable size
_ Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is a visual artist and textile designer. An inspiration for her art is the perishable beauty found in nature. She works in fine metal-wire and other materials to produce three-dimensional drawings of ideas for living organisms and forms related to nature. Gudrun is a former instructor at The Iceland Academy of the Arts, Visual Department. Anna Líndal studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts and completed her postgraduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1990. In 2012 she finished an MA in Artistic Research from St Lucas, University College of Art & Design, Antwerp. Since 1990 she has been active in numerous solo and joint exhibitions in Iceland and abroad. She took part in the Istanbul Biennial in 1997, on life, beauty, translation and other difficulties, curated by Rosa Martinez. The Kwangju Biennial, Man + Space, South Korea in 2000, curated by René Block and the Reykjavik international Art Festival 2005 and 2008. Lindal’s last solo exhibition was at the ASI Art Museum Reykjavik in 2012 Mapping the impermanence. Anna Líndal was a Professor in Fine Art at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2000 – 2009. http://www.annalindal.com Kerstin Lindstrom is well known for her participative performance art, such as her circular knitting projects which reflect the passage of time in relation to human pace. The main theme of her sculpture and installation work is an exploration of human experience and interaction: she creates pieces in wire, felt and mixed media to evoke emotions, elements of behaviour and relationships with people and places.
Anna Lindal Below:
Place 2013 Wire 0.75 m x 3.5 m
Bente Sætrang is a well known Norwegian textile artist specalising in printing and other techniques including drawing, painting, rubbing on fabric. She prints on found fabrics such as heavy canvas and tarpaulins, making use of the contrast between their rough, worn and patched surfaces and the finely drawn quality of her prints or drawings. Her work is held in a number of public collections. Kari Guddal is a Danish tapestry artist. Her abstract tapestries have a powerful and painterly presence, with multiple subtle tones and dramatic contrasts of glowing light and dense warm darkness. She uses up to 350 different shades of Norwegian Spelsau wool which she dyes herself. Top:
Bente Saetrang in her studio With work: Breaking Black 2012 Lacquer on linen/collage 203 x 209cm Right:
When the Shadow Shines 1997 Wool on flax 301 x 202 cm
Barbara Ridland is a Shetland textile artist. Acutely aware of her heritage, her work often has social and cultural significance, re-interpreting the sometimes familiar, sometimes forgotten skills of craft tradition, and offering new insights into the Shetland vernacular. In recent years her work has focused more on a holistic Nordic identity. Jeanette Nowak is a Shetlander who lives and works in Yell. Her art encompasses several disciplines including painting, collage, jewellery, sea glass sculptures and basketry. Her sense of place and passion for her surroundings are the common elements that connect all her art forms and her continually evolving pieces. Her baskets are woven from local plant fibres, with the final form dictated by the availability and characteristics of the material she uses.
Felt Interiors Knitted swathes needle felted on to Shetland fleece felt 300 x 100 cm Bottom left:
Girse Basket 2013 Grass rope sewn with recycled twine dyed from Heather flowers 13 x 11 cm
Acknowledgements We are grateful to the Nordic Cultural Fund and Creative Scotland for supporting this Shetland Arts international research and development project. Their support has enabled us to bring the exhibition and the artists exhibiting in Lighten to Shetland, to take part in the Shetland Arts’ Textile Festival events. We thank Linda Newington, Director of In the Loop Knitting Conferences and Southampton University for their collaboration in creating In the Loop 3.5 as a platform for making international connections and discussion. We would like to thank Jamieson’s Spinning (Shetland) Ltd for sponsoring Kait Lubja’s Estonian Knitting Workshop, and Jamieson & Smith, Shetland Wool Brokers for their sponsorship of the Own our own time performance by artist Kerstin Lindström.
Exhibition curators: Agneta Hobin (Finland) Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Iceland) Ulla-Maija Vikman (Finland) Anna Líndal (Iceland) Kristiina Wiherheimo (Finland) & Hazel Hughson (Shetland) Online catalogue design: Joan Fraser Jono Sandilands & Adam Jones Photographs of Lighten exhibition: Austin Taylor Chloe Garrick Ole Akhøj & Shetland Arts The film ALCHEMIA a working process, a documentary of Agneta Hobin’s working process, was made by Karin Pennanen TUCURUÌ by Ulla-Maija Vikman 2012, photographed by Rauno Träskelin This catalogue is available online at: www.shetlandarts.org
Lighten An exhibition of contemporary textile art exploring the theme of lighten
Shetland Arts Development Agency Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0WQ T: +44 (0) 1595 743 843 F: +44 (0) 1595 694 001 E: email@example.com www.shetlandarts.org
GALLERY SHOP â€˘ CAFE
Bonhoga Gallery 3 August - 15 September 2013