Icelandic artist’s work graces Kohler Gallery

Elena Amesbury

Friday, Sept. 22 marked the opening of the latest exhibition shown in the Wriston Art Center Galleries.
The collections included in the exhibition are “Asian Art in the Permanent Collection” in the Leech Gallery, “Made in Japan: Recent Ceramics by Valerie Zimany” in the Hoffmaster Gallery, and the Kohler Gallery’s “Seekers,” a collection of sculpture by Kristin Gudjonsdottir.
The Asian art from Lawrence’s permanent collection includes select pieces of ancient art, including a series of 18th-century Chinese ivories of eight immortals from Chinese myth, two ceramic horses from the Tang Dynasty, Japanese woodblock prints, and Buddhist sculptures from India and Japan.
Lawrence Fellow in ceramics Valerie Zimany created “Made in Japan” during her studies at the Kanazawa College of Art in Japan and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The art in the exhibit is modern and reflects the cartoon-style pop culture icons of Japan and China. Some of the sculptures are literally piles of cast cartoon figurines.
Kristin – or Stina – Gudjonsdottir delivered the lecture for the heavily attended opening. A native of Reykjavik, Iceland, she now lives in North Carolina. Gudjonsdottir attended both the Icelandic Academy of the Arts and the Reykjavik School of Art, and her work has been shown in Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland and throughout the United States.
Gudjonsdottir uses recycled materials for her work, a trait she feels her thrifty ancestors passed down to her. Throughout her career, she has focused mainly on glass and ceramics.
Of “Seekers,” Gudjonsdottir said, “All my life I have been a seeker. This new body of work shows it in a subtle way.”
The landscape of Iceland inspires Gudjonsdottir’s work. The glass she uses reflects the color of ice, her glazes replicate the texture of lichen, and the lighting of the exhibit duplicates the way the sunlight shines through the Icelandic clouds.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, Gudjonsdottir’s current work reflects her battles with the side effects of chemotherapy as well as her need for the belief in a higher power.
This need led her back to Iceland, where she found a natural energy center. She integrated her visit to the center into her work in other sculptures not found in this exhibit, such as “energy seekers”-stacks of Icelandic stones pointed at the sky.
All three collections can be seen in the galleries through Oct. 29.