SOLD: STUDIO CLEARANCE SALE: Painting entitled “The House,” 1998

Raising FUNDS, clearing SPACE and LETTING GO.

STUDIO CLEARANCE SALE

(Vancouver BC)

FOR SALE:

A favorite piece from my 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses

SOLD

e-transfer or paypal: britakatarina@gmail.com

CONTACT: EMAIL

You pick up in West End, Vancouver

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The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen

It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was visible of the inner, wooden shell was the door and its frame, the door so small, the threshold so high that one had to stoop on entering.  Down in the stable it was cold and dark, the air sour with the smell of earth, the toadstools flabby, but when the trapdoor was lifted a faint gleam shone down from the loft.  There were mangers along the sides, and in the farther wall a gap just wide enough to allow access to a hay barn that Bjartur proposed building behind the house… – Halldor Laxness

Acrylic on Canvas

36″ x 48″

(Note the piece is made of two canvases, 24″ x 36″ each.  It is currently framed, with a beautiful handmade cedar frame by Ralph Bowers- in frame measures 37″ x 49″)

THE EXHBIT WAS INSPIRED BY INDEPENDENT PEOPLE

There is no more important novel to me than INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness (1902 – 1998), Icelandic novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.  I own several copies of the book.  Here is the dust jacket from my hardcover English edition (1946, Alfred A. Knopf, New York):

The exhibit:

The novel inspired a large exhibit in 1998 of multiple paintings, drawings and quilts.  These were exhibited at the beautiful Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, ironically just a month after Laxness’s passing.

Exhibit Synopsis:

In 1983, through my Scandinavian Literature class at the University of British Columbia (taught by my mentor Peter Stenberg), I was introduced to an extraordinary novel which forever embedded itself into my heart. I honestly didn’t know at the time how much it affected me, for my mind was cluttered with other university courses and accompanying distractions, but I did know that the book was very important, and indeed it was the one I have returned to again and again.

The novel is Independent People by Nobel prize winner Halldor Laxness, beautifully translated from Icelandic by J. A. Thompson, 1946, Borzoi Books, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. The novel was reissued in paperback by Vintage international, January 1997.

It is an epic tale of a farm family in rural Iceland around the time of World War I. The central character is a rough and self-proclaimed independent sheep farmer called Bjartur, who early on establishes his croft in which the epic and isolated events of his family are played out. Bjartur is the centre of the story, but the most striking character is his daughter Asta Sollilja. This lonely pubescent girl is the heart of the novel, embodying beauty, pity, tragedy; she is the face of Iceland. Her relationship with her father is awkward, heavy, yet extremely endearing.

At once inspired by the words of Halldor Laxness and my Scandinavian heritage, I chose to do a visual essay on Asta, an essay that should allow the viewer to understand the character without having read the book first, but to inspire them to read it. The paintings and the quilts in the exhibit are strictly my personal interpretation of Asta, focusing on emotion and relationships with other characters rather than specific themes. The quilts are an important feature of the exhibit, providing a visual and tactile commentary- on women’s hand work, the bed covering as protection, the bed where birth, dreams, rape, death occur.

Central quote to the exhibit: page 351

He did not know what to say in the face of such sorrow. He sat in silence by his sister’s side in the spring vendure, which was too young; and the hidden strings in his breast began to quiver, and to sound. This was the first time that he had ever looked into the labyrinth of the human soul. He was very far from understanding what he saw. But what was of more value, he felt and suffered with her. In years that were to come he relived this memory in song, in the most beautiful song the world has ever known. For the understanding in the soul’s defencelessness, of the conflict between two poles, is not the source of the greatest song. The source of the greatest song is sympathy. Sympathy with Asta Sollilja on earth.

Asta Sollilja, 1998 (donated to the Missing Women’s Legacy Society, 2002) 
Detail from Bjartur Quilt, 1998

Feedback:

I was honored to receive amazing feedback from the show.  I treasure this comment in particular:

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Is this where they’ll find me?

ophelia

Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my face covered with a book?

Is this where they’ll find me? Seemingly asleep, one hand holding tight the book that covers my face, hiding the cheap reading glasses that have slipped a little, eyes closed, the mouth slightly open?  The other hand, dangling over the edge?

Will they find me in a tub of cold water, a cold cup of coffee on the edge beside a large bottle of bubble bath with its $2.99 sales sticker, the tap drip dripping that one drop every twenty seconds.

Will they find the parrot, seemingly asleep, but oh so still, eyes closed, head resting against my fingertips that hangs over the ledge, his claws clutching tight the edge of the laundry basket that has been placed next to the tub?

Will they stand, gloved hands on hips, furrowed brows, scanning the small bathroom, the dollar store shower curtain, the child’s plastic tea set strewn on the floor under the parrot, the PineSol in the toilet, three rolls of toilet paper at various sizes, the quiet stillness of the body in the bath, the silent little bird on the ledge, the dripping tap.

Is she dead?

Looks like it.

Call it in.

The curious, mindful, insightful one will pry the book from her stiff fingers.  And he’ll see the indent from her nose, and read out loud…

At last I’m with you again.

And he replied: 

“Keep a good hold round my neck, my flower.”

“Yes,” she whispered.  “Always– as long as I live.  Your one flower.  The flower of your life.  And I shan’t die awhile yet; no, not for a long while yet.”

Then they went on their way. *

Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my nose literally buried a book?  Content to die from the artistry of words.  Breathless.

*

laxness-1

‘Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses’ exhibit

My 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses

2016-11-08-13-55-16

ONE OF THE PIECES FROM THE SHOW:

The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen

It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was visible of the inner, wooden shell was the door and its frame, the door so small, the threshold so high that one had to stoop on entering.  Down in the stable it was cold and dark, the air sour with the smell of earth, the toadstools flabby, but when the trapdoor was lifted a faint gleam shone down from the loft.  There were mangers along the sides, and in the farther wall a gap just wide enough to allow access to a hay barn that Bjartur proposed building behind the house… – Halldor Laxness

Acrylic on Canvas

36″ x 48″

(Note the piece is made of two canvases, 24″ x 36″ each.  It is currently framed, with handmade cedar frame by Ralph Bowers- in frame measures 37″ x 49″)

In my private collection, Vancouver BC

The Book:

There is no more important novel to me than INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness (1902 – 1998), Icelandic novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.  I own several copies of the book.  Here is the dust jacket from my hardcover English edition (1946, Alfred A. Knopf, New York):

The exhibit:

The novel inspired a large exhibit in 1998 of multiple paintings, drawings and quilts.  These were exhibited at the beautiful Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, ironically just a month after Laxness’s passing.

Exhibit Synopsis:

In 1983, through my Scandinavian Literature class at the University of British Columbia (taught by my mentor Peter Stenberg), I was introduced to an extraordinary novel which forever embedded itself into my heart. I honestly didn’t know at the time how much it affected me, for my mind was cluttered with other university courses and accompanying distractions, but I did know that the book was very important, and indeed it was the one I have returned to again and again.

The novel is Independent People by Nobel prize winner Halldor Laxness, beautifully translated from Icelandic by J. A. Thompson, 1946, Borzoi Books, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. The novel was reissued in paperback by Vintage international, January 1997.

It is an epic tale of a farm family in rural Iceland around the time of World War I. The central character is a rough and self-proclaimed independent sheep farmer called Bjartur, who early on establishes his croft in which the epic and isolated events of his family are played out. Bjartur is the centre of the story, but the most striking character is his daughter Asta Sollilja. This lonely pubescent girl is the heart of the novel, embodying beauty, pity, tragedy; she is the face of Iceland. Her relationship with her father is awkward, heavy, yet extremely endearing.

At once inspired by the words of Halldor Laxness and my Scandinavian heritage, I chose to do a visual essay on Asta, an essay that should allow the viewer to understand the character without having read the book first, but to inspire them to read it. The paintings and the quilts in the exhibit are strictly my personal interpretation of Asta, focusing on emotion and relationships with other characters rather than specific themes. The quilts are an important feature of the exhibit, providing a visual and tactile commentary- on women’s hand work, the bed covering as protection, the bed where birth, dreams, rape, death occur.

Central quote to the exhibit: page 351

He did not know what to say in the face of such sorrow. He sat in silence by his sister’s side in the spring vendure, which was too young; and the hidden strings in his breast began to quiver, and to sound. This was the first time that he had ever looked into the labyrinth of the human soul. He was very far from understanding what he saw. But what was of more value, he felt and suffered with her. In years that were to come he relived this memory in song, in the most beautiful song the world has ever known. For the understanding in the soul’s defencelessness, of the conflict between two poles, is not the source of the greatest song. The source of the greatest song is sympathy. Sympathy with Asta Sollilja on earth.

Asta Sollilja, 1998 (donated to the Missing Women’s Legacy Society, 2002) 
Detail from Bjartur Quilt, 1998

Feedback:

I was honored to receive amazing feedback from the show.  I treasure this comment in particular:

 

img_2945

Recalling my exhibit 1998 @thenordicmuseum- Ode to #Laxness #IcelandicLiterature

There is no more important novel to me than INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness (1902 – 1998), Icelandic novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.  I own several copies of the book.  Here is the dust jacket from my hardcover English edition (1946, Alfred A. Knopf, New York):

The novel inspired a large exhibit of multiple paintings, drawings and quilts.  These were exhibited at the beautiful Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, ironically just a month after Laxness’s passing.

My synopsis from the 1998 exhibit:

In 1983, through my Scandinavian Literature class at the University of British Columbia (taught by Peter Stenberg, now head of the Department of Germanic Studies), I was introduced to an extraordinary novel which forever embedded itself into my heart. I honestly didn’t know at the time how much it affected me, for my mind was cluttered with other university courses and accompanying distractions, but I did know that the book was very important, and indeed it was the one I have returned to again and again over the last 14 years.

The novel is Independent People by Nobel prize winner Halldor Laxness, beautifully translated from Icelandic by J. A. Thompson, 1946, Borzoi Books, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. The novel was reissued in paperback by Vintage international, January 1997.

It is an epic tale of a farm family in rural Iceland around the time of World War I. The central character is a rough and self-proclaimed independent sheep farmer called Bjartur, who early on establishes his croft in which the epic and isolated events of his family are played out. Bjartur is the central antagonist of the story, but the most striking character is his daughter Asta Sollilja. This lonely pubescent girl is the heart of the novel, embodying beauty, pity, tragedy; she is the face of Iceland. Her relationship with her father is awkward, heavy, yet extremely endearing.

At once inspired by the words of Halldor Laxness and my Scandinavian heritage, I chose to do a visual essay on Asta, an essay that should allow the viewer to understand the character without having read the book first, but to inspire them to read it. The paintings and the quilts in the exhibit are strictly my personal interpretation of Asta, focusing on emotion and relationships with other characters rather than specific themes. The quilts are an important feature of the exhibit, providing a visual and tactile commentary- on women’s hand work, the bed covering as protection, the bed where birth, dreams, rape, death occur.

Central quote to the exhibit: page 351 “He did not know what to say in the face of such sorrow. He sat in silence by his sister’s side in the spring vendure, which was too young; and the hidden strings in his breast began to quiver, and to sound. This was the first time that he had ever looked into the labyrinth of the human soul. He was very far from understanding what he saw. But what was of more value, he felt and suffered with her. In years that were to come he relived this memory in song, in the most beautiful song the world has ever known. For the understanding in the soul’s defencelessness, of the conflict between two poles, is not the source of the greatest song. The source of the greatest song is sympathy. Sympathy with Asta Sollilja on earth.”


I was honored to receive amazing feedback from the show.  This comment is one I treasure:

Some of the original pieces from my 1998 exhibit will be on sale at my March 1oth Art Event!