Painting with Ice

Yesterday I talked about a language of ice. I’m still following that idea, of writing from the local materials of a place and going through the doorways opened by that kind of body language. Today, I want to share the Icelandic artist Páll Guðmundsson of Húsafell, who does a lot of work with rock. Sometimes he makes faces on boulders and scatters them in streams, where they look a lot like the boulders with natural faces that are already scattered there. It is like adding extra cards to a deck that is already stacked, or like adding words to the margin of a novel to extend its ideas with personal experience. It’s how birds learn to sing, so that’s a good model, right?




Eagle Cliff, þingvaellir, Iceland

Learning to sing in the Mid-Atlantic Rift.

On December 1st, 2008, the Church of Reykholt, Iceland, put on a display of prints of St. Cecilia, which Páll created by painting ice with images with pigments made of ground local stone, then allowing the ice to print them onto paper as it melted. They are inscribed with poems by Thor Vilhjálmsson. Here is one…  


St. Cecilia by Páll Guðmundsson

What an inspiring transformation of the art of lithography! If you can’t speak with the forms of your land, they are not yours. Páll is not the only artist in Iceland playing around with the interface between faith, ice and stone. Here’s a spontaneous piece of folk art I found at the sheep fold on the cinder cone, Glokur …P1280259The angels are among us. Good to know!

1 reply »

  1. Really love the story of the lithography – the imagination of stone moving through ice to the plant fibers felted in paper to represent an image of spirit inspiration is wonder filled alchemy…


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