West Kelowna winery hosts Icelandic artist's work

Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorainsdottir and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery owner Anthony von Mandl at the opening an exhibition of Thorarindottir
Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorainsdottir and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery owner Anthony von Mandl at the opening an exhibition of Thorarindottir's work the West Kelowna winery.
— image credit: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in West Kelowna has kicked off a major four-month art exhibition featuring the work of Icelandic sculptor Steinumm Thorarinsdottir.

The exhibition features 42 life-size and smaller human-like figures, most of them brought in from Iceland but some shipped here from a collection in San Diego.

It also includes the  figures placed around the winery grounds and inside the buildings, including in the underground barrel rooms among the barrels of aging wine.

Winery owner Anthony van Mandl said he feels Thorarinsdottir’s work would fit in perfectly at the winery after meeting her and seeing the figures she creates during a recent trip to Iceland.

“What immediately struck me about Steinunn’s sculptures is her art promotes self-reflection and connectivity to nature through their quiet intrusion into our everyday lives,” said von Mandl.

On Saturday, the winery held a special kick-off event for the display, which will run through October and will be visible in part to anyone who visits the winery and even more so for anyone who takes a tour.

“The sculptures are arranged throughout the winery grounds, and most striking are the pairs of forms, some cast in aluminum and others in cast iron, that mirror each other in silent conversation,” added von Mandl.

“The difference of materials provides a striking visual contrast, highlighting the forms as both familiar and distant, all surrounded by the magnificent architecture of the winery.”

Thorarinsdottir visited the winery in advance to help select the best positions for her art.

She said she was delighted to display her work at Mission Hill, saying the setting was perfect.

Thorarinsdottir said the bodies of the life-size pieces are based on her son, who has joked that when future civilizations find his mother’s work, they may think he was a god because there are so many figures based on him.

Thorarinsdottir’s work is featured in private and public collections around the world including the National Gallery of Iceland, the collection of the King of Sweden, the Copenhagen State Hospital in Denmark, several cities and universities in Great Britain and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art.

Encounters with Iceland will run at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery until October.

This, the second sculpture exhibition mounted at the winery—the first was three years ago featuring a French artist—the winery also stages outdoor concerts in the summer. This year the shows include two by legendary singer Tony Bennett and one by the Gypsy Kings.


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