Granddaughter to the strongman of a travelling circus and owner of Reykjavik’s first grand hotel, Karólína Lárusdóttir ‘s distinctive work is greatly inspired by her Icelandic upbringing
Sarah Wiseman Gallery is proud to present Wondrous Happenings , a rare chance to see works by the renowned Icelandic artist Karólína Lárusdóttir as we celebrate her 75th birthday. ‘Wondrous Happenings’ will be the first solo exhibition of Karólína ‘s work in nine years.
Born and raised in Iceland, Karólína Lárusdóttir moved to Oxford to study at the prestigious Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University, graduating in 1967. Despite remaining in the UK for many years, Karólína admits, “everything in my work is to do with Iceland: the landscape, the people, the way I remember life as a child”.
In this exhibition of etchings, the artist shares strange yet engaging scenes that convey her childhood impressions of a country that remains faithful to ancient customs and traditions to this day. It is said that many Icelanders regard self-sufficiency and independence as important personal qualities to have. Coupled with a national pride in their Viking heritage and for many, a belief in a ‘hidden people,’ Iceland’s traditions are a curious blend of no-nonsense stoicism, with the indubitable acceptance of the existence of other forces.
As the granddaughter to a strongman of a travelling circus and owner of Hotel Borg, Reykjavik’s first grand hotel, Karólína Lárusdóttir’s work is greatly inspired by her unusual Icelandic upbringing. With regular visits to the Hotel, she was witness to many gatherings and social encounters. Hotel Borg was at one time central to Reykjavik’s social calendar, where society parties and dinners took place. Much of the social custom and their peculiarities are typical subject matter for Lárusdóttir’s etchings; her imagery is often populated by chefs and chambermaids, customers taking tea or dancing, referencing characters frequenting the hotel. Faces are unsmiling yet expressive and intense, relating to one another as if in tacit understanding. “There’s nothing worse than seeing a picture of a smiling person”, says Larusdottir, “there&rsquo! ;s always more going on than you think”. Despite drawing on a bank of her personal memories and imagination, she does not want the etchings to become too sentimental.
Karólína’s work is underpinned by the other-worldly and mystic elements of Icelandic culture. Using wry humour, she enhances the surreal and timeless qualities of different happenings, depicting stern-looking angels and other mysterious characters that appear in her painterly and colourful etchings.
Karólína Lárusdóttir’s quietly captivating works are held in collections around the world, including the Vatican Collection, Rome, the Royal Collection of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the British Museum and the Iceland National Collection in Reykjavik.
‘Wondrous Happenings’ will be Karólína Lárusdóttir’s second solo exhibition with Sarah Wiseman Gallery, having exhibited with the gallery in 2004. Her last solo exhibition at The Contemporary Art Gallery in Reykjavik in 2010.
Sarah Wiseman Gallery is proud to announce ‘Meadow and Shore’ a highly anticipated solo exhibition of new prints by Angie Lewin.
Featuring brand-new prints, this will be Angie’s second solo exhibition at Sarah Wiseman Gallery.
She says, ‘The native wildflowers of England and Scotland are the subject of the limited-edition wood engravings, linocuts and screen-prints in this exhibition.
‘From the Outer Hebrides to the North Norfolk coast and places in-between, I depict plant forms against the backdrop of shore, sea and sky. By contrast, the wildflowers and grasses that find their way into my garden also often reveal structures equally as captivating as those of more exotic cultivated species, inspiring sketches which I develop into limited edition prints. Also included in this selection of prints are studio still life compositions of gathered shoreline finds, wild and garden seed-heads and my collection of often chipped and cracked ceramics.’
Angie Lewin’s printmaking has earned her devoted collectors all around the world. Her keen eye for detail and bold yet delicate style is utterly distinct, as she moves with ease through several printmaking techniques which include lithography, silkscreen and wood-engraving.
Her palette is soft, even muted in tone, but with punches of strong colour, such as with the glossy red rowan berries typically found in the Scottish countryside. With her Norfolk-inspired work, chalkier tones with strong blues are in evidence.
As well as working on editions of her prints, Angie designs textiles for St Judes, the company she runs with her husband Simon. Dividing her time between Norfolk, Edinburgh and Speyside, Angie’s work is very much influenced by her natural surroundings. Angie will spend much of her time outside, sketching and collecting shells, leaves and feathers to add to her still-life.