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ELIZABETH SHER: Icelandscapes

May, 2018

Sher West Fjords 1

Can we call it Iceland if there’s no more ice?

Elizabeth Sher was a resident at Gullkistan Center for Creativity in Iceland twice.  The geologic wonders and phantasmal forms gave her a glimpse of what the earth might have been like in its beginnings.

Underground rumblings randomly spew out steam, lava and rocks through pockets in the earth. Iceland burns, chills, churns, cracks, crusts, cuts, erupts, oozes, scalds, scrapes, spews, sprays.  It is a land of horizon wide panoramas, skyscraper high waterfalls, shimmering lakes, volcanic mountains, startling rifts and blue ice glaciers.

Iceland has been called “the land of fire and ice” as the glaciers of this island nation sit atop active volcanos. But all of this will change over the next generation or 2 – the glaciers are receding and Iceland has been called Ground Zero for climate change. Over the past 30 years, the annual average sea-ice extent has decreased by about 8% or nearly 363,000 square miles, an area larger than all of Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined – and the melting trend is accelerating. Sea-ice has also become thinner estimated by about 15-20%. As this happens the “ice water” heads to the sea causing it to rise and threatening low-lying cities and countries, some of which are already under water.

Sher’s landscape paintings offer a love “letter” to the beauty of Iceland’s horizon wide vistas as well as “get well card” for the country and the earth.   “Snow Lines” outline the patches of snow on the mountains which decreased measureable between her 2nd visit in summer 2016 and her first visit in summer 2012.


About Elizabeth Sher

Elizabeth Sher is a long time Bay Area artist and filmmaker. Icelandscapes explores her love of nature combined with her interest in technology which she combines with traditional artist materials. The pieces are often based on sketches and small works on paper made at artists residencies some of which are included in this show. Sher often includes narrative, integrating her need as a filmmaker to tell stories with her love of materials and process as a visual artist. Her work in both film and visual art have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her 2017 documentary Rituals of Remembrance:  Exploring the Art of Mourning (made with Maggie Simpson Adams) was seen regionally on PBS and recently screened in Morocco. Her 2014 documentary Penny: Champion of the Marginalized is currently running on national PBS. Sher is Professor Emeritus of Fine Art at California College of the Arts. This is her first show at Mercury 20 Gallery.


More information, images and film clips at www.ivstudios.com

Mercury 20 Gallery

475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612
Tel: 510-701-4620

Gallery hours: Friday + Saturday: 12-5pm and by appt