For over fifteen years, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson (b. 1963) has merged painting and weaving, creating paintings on hand-dyed, woven silk thread. Jónsson’s paintings begin from images of the singular landscape of her native Iceland; addressing numerous Icelandic landmarks, she has created series devoted to Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, and Hekla, a stratovolcano that is one of the country’s most active. Opener 25 features a selection of Jónsson’s artwork from the past five years, including large-scale woven paintings made on a ten-foot-wide loom, as well as several newly created pieces.
Born in Reykjavík, Jónsson has lived in Cleveland, Ohio for thirty years. From 1983 through 1985, Jónsson studied architecture at Kent State University before switching her focus to studio art and studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Later, she returned to Kent State, where she received her BFA in 1991 and MFA in 1995. Twice a year Jónsson returns to Iceland, taking photographs as she hikes through the landscape. Details of the photographs, from mountainous silhouettes to glacial crevasses, become isolated, cropped, and enlarged as Jónsson transfers the imagery to woven paintings in her Cleveland studio. This complex process includes hand-dyeing the threads before weaving together the warp and weft. In the process, Jónsson’s original sources are abstracted, as the paintings suggest a range of imagery from nonrepresentational lines and shapes to elemental forms, such as cells, rocks, and galaxies.
Opener 25: Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson is a two-site exhibition that will be on view at the Reykjavik Museum of Art from February 8–May 18, 2014. The Tang Museum presentation is organized by Dayton Director Ian Berry in collaboration with the artist and supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Overbrook Foundation, and Friends of the Tang.