Thordis Adalsteinsdottir: Other Voices, Other Rooms

Mar 7, 2018 3:51AM

23.Jun.2016—31.Aug.2016  Thordis Adalsteinsdottir Solo Exhibition in Taiwan

While American writer Truman Capote tried to find the trace of an imaginary character’s existence via his semi-autobiographical novel “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, Thordis Adalsteinsdottir attempts to paint the true features of human beings’ emotions.

Shortly after the truce of World War II, Capote created a little boy named Joel Harrison Knox, who originally came from New Orleans, in “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, the first novel he published. In this novel, Joel satisfied his desire for finding self-identity through a journey to looking for his father. “Voice” is a communication medium with the world while “Room” is a barrier between inner and outer space. Capote writes novels while Thordis draws paintings. Choosing “Other Voices, Other Rooms” as an exhibition title has been a lasting idea in Thordis’s mind for a long time. From this exhibition, we can discover the delicate relationship between their writing and painting worlds.

All characters in Capote’s story are peculiar and eccentric, such as an eloquent gay uncle, an emotional stepmother, or a tomboy twin sister. This rare way to depict characters actually reflected the most real appearance of the American society, which advertised itself as a continent of freedom in those days. Coincidentally, creatures in Thordis’s paintings all have an extremely strong ability to narrate, with sharp prying eyes, slender limbs, and odd behaviors unconsciously forming a treacherous atmosphere.

Compared with other Nordic or Icelandic artists, Thordis continues with a natural and scenery-like style in the use of colors and compositions, rather than in painting mountain peaks and glittering river directly. Those colors presented on canvas are like water flowing between sand and stones, cedar leaves floating in high latitude mountain, or light glowing in the quiet night sky. Critics usually attribute this way of painting to the magnificent landscapes in Northern Europe, dressing the artist an inherent snow-white layer of chiffon. However, LOVE and LONELINESS, which are often mentioned in Capote’s novel, are the main themes Thordis talks about on the basis of Nordic painting style. There is no doubt that her paintings become a more realistic human self-portrait.

Alicia (2015), Acrylic on canvas, 30x30inches

It is impossible for us to take our eyes away from creatures in Thordis’s paintings. Most of them originate from the artist’s daily life: stars showing up in movies, pets hiding in the corner, or people encountered on the streets. Reading can always be a trigger for Thordis to tell a new story with pigments through her own conversion. It is the characters living in books that make her painting an ecological documentary with countless unfamiliar and cruel images in the end.

Woman with phone and tomatoes (2016), Acrylic on Canvas, 39.3x39.3inches

The other thing that could not be ignored is the wallpaper-like background, mostly in a single pattern, shown repeatedly in Thordis’s paintings. In this way, the artist does not have to position the main features particularly and is capable of creating an infinite space full of IMAGINATION between works and audience. As a result, the painting itself has an ability to start an endless dialogue within generous dimensions.

Cute Cat painting (2016), Acrylic on Canvas, 27.5x27.5inches

In some book reviewers’ opinions, the writer regards Joel’s journey with a motive to find his father as a process of walking into his own subconsciousness. As an exhibition title, “Other Voices, Other Rooms” is a way for Thordis to talk about DESIRE, IMAGINATION, PERCEPTION, and PASSION that people are always afraid to mention. To be more precise, Thordis magically places her paintings into a virtual passage connecting inner and outer worlds, which becomes a mirror to reflect the truth.

Dog In An Autumn Night (2013), Acrylic On Canvas, 39.3x39.3inches