“I knock on your skin and I am in”-Bjork
These drawings come out of a month-long residency spent on the tiny island of Hrisey, in northern Iceland. I was inspired to explore the magic and ethereality of the country, but was ultimately struck by the solitude I found there.
Through the use of figurative symbols, the work delineates perimeters of the individual. It ponders the surface of, and space inside, another’s imagination. Each of the works contain several disparate aesthetics; the interior often contradicting the exterior. Sometimes the interior of the contained space floods out. Where are the entry or exit points of another human being?
Everyone loves it here
Iceland, for me, represents expansiveness in both its peoples’ beliefs and its landscape. This is the place where huldufólk (hidden people) and gnomes are said to exist. Nature here seems untouched, and maybe it mostly is. I’m at the edge of the world. The Icelanders I’ve met are very proud of their country and respect the mystery of nature, and they know to play by its rules (while ignoring many others).
In Icelandic, the country’s name translates to “Island”. It is The island; a self-contained nation, which has managed to preserve much of its ancient origins.
Icelanders’ openness towards individuality is wonderful! One man who I met at the pool (and who skipped right past small talk), repeatedly told me, “you have to do the crazy thing.”
Though I was initially drawn to the folklore and magic of the country, the solitude is what most inspired me. It is very important here (and not really disconnected from the magic). A new friend from Hrisey has told me that he doesn’t like Reykjavik; too many people there…it’s the smallest capital I’ve ever been to. He also noted that, “in an Icelandic family, if there is no poet…well…” They love their poets and you can visit the homes of many Icelandic literary heroes.
So, I was able to wander in this wildly silent landscape, while wandering through my own head. I’m incredibly grateful for this, as it’s difficult to find the time to really be with yourself elsewhere.
My work has become more representational; bones, stones, and moss. Thematically, it is still concerned with the interiority of the individual. In earlier work, I considered the canvas as a container. The sole fact that I was making unrestrained, expressive gestures said something about my valuing of individualism, spontaneity, and imagination. Now I want to approach these ideas from the inside as well as the outside by depicting elements of the body (the container of these things) and its environment. I’ve become very drawn to hipbones and spinal columns. They are internal structures of the individual, so they had to have a certain silliness in their aesthetic, for me. The spines reach outwards or they contain. The vertebrae stacks become stones and meld with the environment, interrupt it, or attempt to contain it.
Kristine Roan, from Upstate New York, currently lives and works in Beverly, Massachusetts. She received her BFA (2011) from Montserrat College of Art. This past October, she completed a month-long residency at Gamli Skoli in Hrisey, Iceland. Roan is the recipient of the Will & Elena Barnet Art History Scholarship (2010), the Will & Ruth Fusco Artistic Achievement Award (2010), and the Donna Marie Twarog Scholarship (2009).