The Wildflower focuses a futuristic lens on that which is deeply familiar – our delicate flora clinging to rock – as it takes root in new stories. Through this lens, audiences re-engage a swell of complex emotions and an acute awareness of our fragile world and our place in it. Artists from Iceland and Canada cultivate new space for a dynamic collision of climate activism, interspecies ecologies, feminism and craft-based practice in contemporary art. Urging forward a renewed interest in traditional materials connected to local culture, artists transform wood, marble, plant dye, flowers, metal into new visions of textile, sculpture, painting and stained glass armour.
The conceptual vision for the exhibition is that of an open “field” in a northern landscape. The gallery blooms as an active space for new imaginings in powerful union with intimate qualities of nature – innocence, colonization, gentleness, force – that are being written, heralded, in our own time. Our human relationship to nature is in flux, unfathomable and fantastical, felt as both a gendered and androgynous transformative power — a source of productive tension and enchantment.
The participating artists are Arna Óttarsdóttir, Asinnajaq, Eggert Pétursson, Emily Critch, Jón Gunnar Árnason, Justine McGrath, Katrina Jane, Leisure, Nína Óskarsdóttir, Rúna Þorkelsdóttir and Thomas Pausz. The curators are Becky Forsythe and Penelope Smart.
Becky Forsythe is a curator, writer, and collections specialist based in Reykjavík.
Penelope Smart is a curator and writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Forsythe and Smart met at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity in 2017. Their shared work is based in new and meaningful conversations about nature, power and the feminine. The Wildflower is their first collaborative project.