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Painting by Guðmundur Thoroddsen

Maybe, maybe  

In new works by Guðmundur Thoroddsen, hidden references – maybe this, or maybe that – and concrete concepts, have been left behind. Instead, the paintings continue further into their own abstract language and composition. Where horizontal lines once suggested landscapes and vertical ones suggested indoor spaces or people, colour, texture and vibratory motion have replaced figurative shapes and imagery. Certain parts of these works relate to the colour experiments by international artists Andreas Eriksson, Philip Guston, Jean Dubuffet and Tal R, and are reminiscent of works by Icelandic artists such as Svavar Guðnason and Jóhann Briem in their treatment of forms.

Guðmundur’s hazy colour palette of toned-down chocolatey browns and mauves, rusty pinky-peaches, wistful greys, and buffed khaki meets electrified blue, ultramarine and forestry-phthalo greens. Maintaining liberal, blurred or shadowy brushstrokes, these works are built of reduced forms and seem less interested in conveying feelings or figurative scenes. Instead, their layers and outlines reveal how a work is constructed, contributes to a visible process and can function as one part in a series. As a counterbalance to quick production and concrete meaning, Guðmundur is committed to the slowness of being with the works, completely immersed in the craft of painting.

Light lines of canvas that have been ground with rusty pink or phthalo green surround certain forms, a new gesture that emphasizes the act of simplification and also celebrates it. The works are stripped of current matters, politics or the like, leaving the tension between beauty and strange as a discovery point. As has been noted previously, the connection between imagery and interpretation is ever-changing within Guðmundur’s works. In painting, he is aware of atmosphere, light and what a loose form of narrative might suggest, but it is first and foremost the play of colour, form and texture that leads the way. This is reflected in the fact that the works are often turned during their making, painted on in different directions as the artists gets to know them. In doing so it is implied that meaning is something that can be gleaned from the works at a later time, and this is perhaps the intention.

 - Becky Forsythe


Image: Guðmundur Thoroddsen, "Eftirvænting / Expectation," 2022, Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm