An interview with Emily Weiner about her current exhibition with Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir and Theresa Himmer in Iceland
SVA’s Features blog recently published an interview with VCS faculty member Emily Weiner about her current three-person exhibition with Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir and Theresa Himmer in Iceland. Here are two excerpts that provide some background information about the show.
“The In, With and Between Us” opened in early June at Gerðarsafn, a modern and contemporary art museum founded around the work and legacy of Gerður Helgadóttir (1928 – 1975), Iceland’s most well-known female mid-century sculptor. Helgadóttir’s voice has been added to the friends’ discussion in the form of archival access and pieces from the museum’s collection, joining new work in sculpture, film and painting from Gestsdóttir, Himmer and Weiner. It is on view through August 20.
Weiner’s paintings are described by the show’s curator as interested in “how symbols move between the collective unconscious and individual perception.” I spoke with her about the origins of such an international experience and what it means to work in direct conjunction with others, close contemporaries and otherwise.
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And how did the current museum exhibition come about? What are you showing in it?
Following the 2015 show in Brooklyn, the curator of Gerðarsafn invited us to collaborate again, this time in Iceland. The museum holds the largest permanent collection of work by Gerður Helgadóttir. It made sense to open up our conversation about place and temporality to include Helgadóttir, whose life’s work reflected parallel infatuations to ours: she had studied in Paris and Florence, and found inspiration from her travels to Egypt and Europe. In the case of this show, our work aimed to speak nearby one another, as well as through the ideas circulating between us: my language was painting, Ragnheiður’s sculpture and Theresa’s was film.
For the exhibition I made a new series of oil paintings (which juggled imagery ranging from the Mona Lisa and Pierrot to ancient Greek erotica), as well as several large painted fabric pieces, which acted as backdrops for paintings and other works in the show. In keeping with the theme of cultural juxtaposition—and pulling from Helgadóttir’s imagery bank of geometric shapes and Egyptian hieroglyphs—these backdrops and paintings focused on icons and geometries which have been repeated and reshaped over different cultures and times. I also hand built ceramic frames for the paintings (using the large kilns at Greenwich House Pottery in NYC) to attempt a tactility akin to Helgadóttir’s stained glass and sculptural works. The paintings I made were meant to ask: How are representational images shaped, shared, reproduced and translated? How do they travel between cultures and time periods?
You can read the rest of the interview and see several more images from “The In, With and Between Us” on SVA Features.