“Á milli heima – Between Worlds” Arnor Bieltvedt

Listamaðurinn Arnór Bieltvedt heldur myndlistarsýningu í sal Grafíksalnum frá 24. mars til 1. apríl 2023.

Sýningin ber heitið “Á Milli Heima” og samanstendur af um 20 málverkum.

Opnunin er föstudaginn 24. mars klukkan 17:00 til 20:00. Grafíksalurinn er staðsett í Hafnarhúsinu, Tryggvagötu 17, hafnarmegin.

Málverkin rannsaka rýmið sem býr á milli innblásturs Van Gogh og nútímalistar, Kaliforníu og Íslands, hlutbundinnar og óhlutbundinnar tjáningar og fullunniðs málverks og verks sem er enn í vinnslu.

Arnór hlaut BFA gráðu í málaralist frá Rhode Island School of Design og MFA gráðu í málaralist frá Washington University í St. Louis. Hann nam einnig hagfræði og markaðsfræði í Þýskalandi og Bandaríkjunum. Arnór hefur haldið fjölda samsýninga og einkasýninga í Evrópu og Bandaríkjunum undanfarna þrjá áratugi. Í dag býr hann ásamt fjölskyldu sinni í Pasadena, Kaliforníu, þar sem hann fæst við listsköpun og listkennslu.

Arnor Bieltvedt/Artist Statement

The distinctive volcanic and glacial landscapes of his native Iceland and the sunlight and flora of his Southern California home comprise the visual memories Arnor Bielvedt draws upon in his painting. Like generations of Icelandic artists before him (including Nína Tryggvadóttir and Kristján Davídsson, two inspirations), the intensity of these landscapes inspires Bieltvedt to perceive his surroundings deeply, search for distinctive elements and seek to understand how they connect as a whole. His abstract paintings express his admiration for nature, its beauty on the surface and its underlying force and strength. Abstraction allows him to focus on color relationships with the aim of organizing essential impressions and memories into painted poetry.  His figurative work provides a point of access to more traditional influences, especially Vincent van Gogh. Through both his non-objective and representational painting, Bieltvedt expresses reverence for his inspirations and explores the pull between stylistic modalities.

Bielvedt paints quickly across the canvas, his gestures expressing feeling through intense mark-making and varied contrasts and rhythms that form an unrestrained but confident, harmonious whole. Faced with the unresolvable tension between figure and ground, paint and surface, he immerses himself in the medium itself, painting physically and emotionally, an action he attributes to the influence of Jackson Pollack and Joan Mitchell. Like the abstract expressionists, Bieltvedt cedes control over his work to the material process. He contemplates the technology of paint—its saturation, texture and plasticity—by painting with a variety of media, overlaying base layers of acrylic washes with lines of paint pen in search of the emerging structure and emotion of the composition.  Eventually the painting becomes infused with life and energy through the use of thick layers of oil paints often applied with swift, energetic strokes of the palette knife atop the acrylic under-painting. Matte acrylic washes juxtapose slick layers of impasto, allowing the oil to shine. 

The work displays a radical and free use of color, as well as experimentation with composition, scale, and structure. Anticipating the interaction of color as he saturates the field, Bieltvedt applies the paint directly to the canvas rather than a palette, with a focus on one color or two. Seeking to understand light and space, in his early work he challenged himself to paint only in black and white. For Bieltvedt, color becomes the anchor, fomenting equilibrium by virtue of its interaction across hues. Informed by the unspoiled landscape of his Nordic home, a country built on shades of blue, he understands that the play of nature’s light on its varied colors cannot be truly replicated. Instead, he aims to paint its opposite: Bieltvedt employs imagined color to represent a pure expression of humanity and life.

Arnor Bieltvedt


Arnor G. Bieltvedt is an artist whose intuitive, expressionistic abstract paintings have a connection to the landscapes of Iceland, the country of his birth, and southern California, where he currently resides. Born in Akureyri, Iceland, he spent his youth in Reykjavik—both cities are known for their seaside beauty. His education took him from Europe to the United States, receiving first a degree in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Augsburg, Germany and then a B.S. degree in Marketing and a M.S. degree in Managerial Technology at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.  In 1989, Bieltvedt’s interests turned to art. He pursued a B.F.A. degree in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and an M.F.A. degree in Painting from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  Bieltvedt’s paintings are in private and public collections in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the collections of the Reykjavik Art Museum. His work is represented by Galleri Tornby in Denmark and Anne Loucks Gallery in Chicago, IL. Currently Bieltvedt serves as Visual Arts Department Chair and Gallery Director at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California. He lives and works in Pasadena, California.

Between Worlds

My exhibition is composed of paintings that all live in between opposing worlds. Most of them I worked on for over a decade, as they were often painted over and reworked until they gradually found their way, through birth and rebirth,  and settled in their current state.  How they present themselves today, at their final destination, represents the resolution and compromise between these opposing worlds.

The first in-between consideration for me is the space between the state of being a finished painting and the state of being a work in progress.  Picasso maintained that if you finish a painting you kill it.  Its heartbeat stops.  This delicate point of staying fresh and alive is addressed in each of the works in the exhibition.

A second in-between point of interest to me  is the question of figurative representation  versus non-objective abstraction.  In the spirit of the great American painter, Philip Guston, I resolved this dilemma by painting what I want to see, allowing each painting to find its life in the non-objective, objective, or somewhere in-between stage of abstraction.

A third in-between consideration of mine has to do with the idea of time and specifically the history of painting.  The artists of the past still influence the artists of today.  Their voices can be heard in contemporary works like echoes of the past.  One’s inspirations, like good teachers, guide one to seek certain answers, follow certain paths, but ultimately one’s only hope for true growth is to find oneself.  It is this in-between space between the inspiration of great art and traditions of the past and the contemporary interpretation/expression of the world we live in today that needs examining.   My images of Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and other faces/portraits express in a variety of techniques and media my appreciation for past traditions and artists and my need to take risk with new ideas in painting and find my own unique voice as an artist.

Having moved from my native home of Iceland as a young man I have explored the in-between space of one’s original roots and my later homes around the world.  The contrast between the golden light and purple shadows of Californian beaches and Icelandic textured mossy lava rocks can exist in the same space as complements in painted poetry.

Art-making requires an in-between mindset.  Through the act of creating art, one has to summon one’s creative spirits, allow ones intuition to come alive and create without inhibitions. I have poured years of my love for painting into these paintings.  They traveled long and complex distances to get where they are today.   I hope you will enjoy the exhibition and meditate on your own in-between worlds.