Dreams of Fire and Ice
I once heard it described that when one meets a soul mate, it’s like meeting someone from one’s tribe for the first time. I’m not sure if there’s a translatable term for finding a ‘soul-place,’ but when I arrived in Iceland for the first time, it was as if I had stepped into a home I never knew. Six months later, I was back – and fell more in love with the country. I’ve been preoccupied by dreams of returning as an immigrant ever since. If Iceland were a person, it would be my soul mate, making ‘Dreams of Fire and Ice’ a love poem.
It’s difficult to explain the role of inspiration that the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ had on my art-making. My visits were akin to sojourns not projects. What beckoned me was less about a creative impulse and more about a yearning to be reunited with a beau. There were times when the island made it clear she didn’t want my motivations divided. Like when I first saw the Northern Lights. I fiddled with my camera equipment for a few minutes before having the lucidity to remember why I was there. I put the ‘stuff’ away, allowed myself to caught up in the enchantment, and ended that night without a single viable photograph.
The work in this exhibit is unabashedly sentimental: golden flax field grasses brushed up against a lively creek, voluptuous moss-covered lava rocks leading to a backdrop of a massive (and hidden) glacier, quirky roadside advertisements popping out of a mostly barren landscape. These naturally vivid landscapes challenge commonly held notions that Iceland is a cold and drab country. I enhanced the colors even further; I added my own biases – not to allege exact depictions, but to express my own romanticized ones. Ultimately this editing decision acknowledges one key truth: the lover doesn’t see the object of her affection in its dispassionate form; she sees a manifestation of her own inspired hope.
Dreams of Fire and Ice is on exhibit March 1 to April 28, 2012