Envision an Icelandic winter. It is dark, vast, gritty and tempestuous. With as much as 20 hours of darkness a day, you lose your sense of time during the long nights. The total absence of light is especially evident in remote northern towns, like Skagaströnd, where the surrounding mountains and fjords block even the slimmest sliver of sun on the horizon. Life seems to slow down during the long hours of solitude. This body of work, ARTEMIS, has its roots in the internal disorientation Ali Gradisher experienced during January and February 2013 at the Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland.
It is not uncommon to find large animal bones strewn about Iceland’s rugged terrain or washed up on the beach. For Ali, the bones seemed to be symbolic of a particularly guttural and keenly alive part of life that is characteristic to Iceland. She chose to magnify and play with bone motifs to express her impressions of Iceland’s wildly elemental and exposed landscape.
The cyanotypes in ARTEMIS commemorate a season of making, process and storytelling. Each of these cyanotypes were created in reaction to the one made before it. Because Ali abandoned traditional cyanotype processes and chose instead to paint, not print, with the chemicals, these pieces are evidence of both external and internal landscapes. What you see in this work is symbolic of place, remoteness, darkness and wild grit. As a result of the experimental processes harnessed to create each piece, this work questions the basic constitution of a cyanotype.
ARTEMIS was funded in part by a 2013 Professional Development Grant through the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, OR.