Monday, April 24, 2017

Huldufólk: Iceland Residency Exhibition celebrates hidden folk & folklore of the land

"Rain" by Justin Oaksford
There's been a renewed world-wide interest in Iceland's rich mystical heritage and land in the past few years, which is wonderful to see. We get excited about this because the fairy tales and folklore are, at first glance, very different from the wood based fairy tales and folklore most people are familiar with and associate with fairy tales, which brings a greater awareness to different types of tales world wide. Though at first look they might appear very different from the canonical fairy tales, it really doesn't take long to notice that these tales have grown out of the land, traditions and peoples, just like tales from other places have. And just like folk visiting the Black Forest in Germany feel close to and inspired by wonder tales, so too, it seems, that people visiting Iceland cannot help but feel that folkloric vibe, directly off the land itself.
"Near" by Bridget Underwood

"Troll Hill" by Andrew Olson

Light Grey Art Lab's Huldufólk Exhibition is all about unique Icelandic, land-based wonder, which, no surprise, includes folklore and fairy tales. Although not all pieces have clear depictions of folkloric creatures, and many pieces of the exhibition are straight landscapes, it doesn't take too much squinting to see giants, trolls and large land people crouching and brooding over the world in those paintings and sketches either. Do you see a sleeping giant head, with pointy beard, in the landscape below like we do?
"5" by Erin McGuire
The exhibition, which even with just a handful of specifically folklore and fairy tale focused subjects, inspired storytelling, grew out of a special, on location residency. A group of (lucky!) artists traveled to Iceland and toured, bringing their art supplies with them of course, to study the landscape and be inspired by the natural and mystical wonders in person. The exhibition is a collection of work created (or at least started) during the tour.
Huldufólk Exhibition celebrates the hidden folk, trolls, fairies and folklore found in Icelandic culture. The faces in the rocks, hidden pools, smoking earth, and ever-surprising landscape influences some of the characters and mythology inherent in Iceland storytelling. The Huldufólk Exhibition includes artwork by the artists that attended the Light Grey Iceland Residency in 2015. Each artist exhibits a unique collection of prints and originals inspired by their experiences in Iceland.
"To find your way in bad weather" by Kate O'Hara

"Thunder" by Justin Oaksford

"Iceland Proverb: The Hills" by Michelle Schwartzbauer

"Hrafntinna" by Corey Godbey
(who illustrates here how John Bauer's work grew out of the mythical landscapes of his beloved Scandinavian countries)

"To avoid ghosts and evil spirits" by Kate O'Hara

"Hear" by Bridget Underwood

Light Grey Art Lab brings together artists and designers from all sorts of disciplines to learn, educate and exhibit together, with the goal of fostering a 'global creative community'. Artists are welcomed to participate, submit from all over the world for various exhibitions, events and for special residencies, and it's no surprise to see folklore and fairy tale subjects pop up quite often - both as themes for an exhibit or as part of one. We've subscribed to make sure we don't miss out on anything wondrous in the future.

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