320 Vernon St #3A
Nelson, BC V1L 6G6
Oxygen Art Centre is pleased to announce Ephemeral Existence, an exhibition by Nelson-based contemporary artist Hildur Jónasson. The exhibition will be the first public showing of work done by Jónasson, while participating at the Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard, Norway last year. Included in the show will be a selection of works on paper, as well as a sculptural installation that accompanies a video of a performance made by Jónasson on the Svalbard Glacier.
Join us to celebrate the opening of Ephemeral Existence on Friday, November 30th from 7-9pm. The exhibition will run from December 1st thru to December 22nd, 2018. Oxygen Art Centre’s exhibition hours are 1-5pm Wednesday to Saturday. Hildur Jónasson will give a talk about her work on Saturday, December 1st at 4pm. Admission is by donation. The exhibition will be followed by a residency at the Oxygen Art Centre from January 7th to 31st, 2019.
Born and raised in Iceland, Jónasson’s experience with volcanoes, geysers and glaciers informs her practice, as does the folklore and mythology which animates the Icelandic landscape. The far northern landscape, with it’s subtle light shifts, eerie sense of presence, and vast space, holds a special fascination for Jónasson. In particular, the artist notes, that ice fields and glaciated landscapes form part of the “cultural fabric of Iceland”. Their rapid disappearance, amplifying the effects of the global environmental crisis, effects Jónasson personally. A noticeable absence of ice now clouds her childhood memories of glacial landscapes, once within view of her family home, instead, for Jónasson, a sense of loss pervades.
In 2017, returning to the circumpolar landscape, Jónasson sought to record and respond to this loss through her art practice. A practice as diverse yet interwoven as the land itself, consisting of lithography, intaglio, cyanotype, painting, pen and ink, graphite, wax and casting. Working largely in an achromatic palette, the artist pulls, etches, casts and rubs ghost-like imagery into fibrous materials.
Included in the exhibition, Farewell Embrace, a performance art video shows Jónasson encased in a shroud-like blanket standing in the landscape. Rolling her body across a gritty summer glacier, reminiscent of the way in which children roll down a grassy slope in a burlap sack, but there is no child-like laughter of a bright summer’s day, instead the scene is sober, the light that of twilight echoing a sense of grief. Using the shape and weight of her body as a tool to imprint the texture of the Svalbard glacier, this work evokes impermanence and futile effort to capture the retreating ice. Continuing her introspection of the arctic environment, this January, as an Artist in Residence at the Oxygen Art Centre, Jónasson will again turn her attention to the silent casualties of climate change – the disappearing glaciers.
Jónasson’s first engagement with the Oxygen Art Centre was in 2002 when as a graphic designer, she created the Centre’s logo. It was around this time that she began to translate her interests into the visual arts, eventually studying printmaking at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and then years later, participating in residencies at the Banff Centre, Toni Onley Artist’s Project (Mountain Island Arts) Residency and The Arctic Circle Residency Program. Most recently, she completed a self-directed study in textile arts at Kootenay School of Arts at Selkirk College. She has had solo and groups shows since 2010 with solo shows in Halifax, NS (2015); Reykajavik, Iceland (2013); and Whitehorse, Yukon (2017, 2014). This coming year, Fata Morgana, another body of new work will be exhibited at the Kootenay Gallery of Art in Castlegar.