The main space of the gallery, with its high, white walls and spacious windows, is an ideal space for showing work. On the other hand, one smaller room in the back should probably be converted into a storage room: unused tracks for lighting in the ceiling, as well as three air vents in one wall distract from whatever piece is being displayed in the small space. The space in the basement, however, has no such distractions.
Currently showing is a group exhibition of eleven artists called, “Gullpensillinn” (“The Gold Brush”), an intriguing showing with mixed results. Two unfortunate choices greet visitors as they walk in: “Birthday Table,” a kitschy, amateurish painting of Halloween candy by Þorri Hringsson on one wall, and two washed-out, roughly done paintings of shirts from the series “Blonde Doctors,” by Birgir Snæbjörn on the opposite wall. Some stronger pieces from the main gallery space – and there are many in this exhibition – would have been a wiser choice for a first impression.
For example, Kristinn Gunnlaugsdóttir – best known for religiously themed paintings such as “The Virgin with Child,” which adorns the church in Stykkishólmur – makes a successful departure with “Landscape at Night,” two powerful fantasy landscape pieces. Sigtryggur Baldvinsson has two enormous abstract watercolours, “Giardini Publichi nr 32 and 33,” that employ an intricacy that draws observers into the piece before they even realize it. Sigurður Árni Sigurðsson’s piece – six molecular forms in bright colours entitled “Situation” – is playful and humorous.
The basement space, while not a part of the exhibition, includes some stand-out works such as “64°09’21”N 22°00’36”W 286° True North,” a dark, haunting landscape by Húbert Nói Jóhannesson and two untitled, remarkable abstracts by Kristinn Már, whose use of texture and Byzantine colour schemes are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt.
The gallery has a separate room of such classic Icelandic artists as Georg Guðni, Kristín Jónsdóttir, and others, including a rare and uncharacteristic pencil drawing by Icelandic master Kjarval.
Gullpensillinn’s exhibition might lack a single, unifying concept, but the overall impression one gets is that this is a showing worth repeated visits.
Turpentine Gallery, Ingólfsstræti 5, 101 Reykjavík
Open Tues.-Fri., 12:00-18:00, Sat., 11:00-16:00.
Sveinn will open the gallery for those who call ahead outside of hours operation: tel: 690-0931.
www.turpentine.is Or email: email@example.com.