Imagining Ice Land

"Rings" by Nicole Linde

If Nature is the reigning goddess-muse for a legion of contemporary artists, Iceland must be her sexiest manifestation. The singer Bjork, the post-rock band Sigur Rós, and Nobel Prize-winning author, Halldór Laxness, all hail from this island south of the Arctic Circle, where myths of trolls and pixies hold a special place in the minds of some, and the geography of spewing volcanoes, gushing geysers, steaming hot springs and growling blue ice floes is something magical.

And then there’s winter – the endless winter.

“When I first went to Iceland, I arrived in early January and stayed until late July,” says Portland-based artist, Nicole Linde, of her artist’s residency in the northern town of Akureyri. “There were only two hours of daylight in January and about the same amount of darkness in July.” One thing the elongated Icelandic winter offers artists is the time and motivation to stay inside and create. For Linde, that meant embarking on a series of crystal-themed pieces inspired by the ice-encrusted landscape, one of which is coming to Tacoma.

"The Council" by Nicole Linde

For Spaceworks Tacoma, Linde is creating The Crystalline Garden, an installation opening March 18 at 906 Broadway. Universal forces converge in this “cosmic piece” inspired by the artist’s interest in natural crystals, Nordic mythology, science fiction and fantasy. Images of “the volcanic, hot landscape of obsidian” are one catalyst behind her work. But The Crystalline Garden extends beyond the seen realm.

“I like the idea that we are all stardust. I don’t know much about the scientific facts behind this, but poetically it is a nice visual connection,” she says. “In my art, I am constantly exploring new ideas, and new ways to express my finite self to the infinite. Perhaps this cosmic sea of chemicals, gases, and minerals is the glue that binds us all together within a dimensional giant web.”

"An Offering," by Nicole Linde

Linde says that while developing her “fantastical world” on the theme of crystals, she became interested in the relationship between natural vs. artificial objects. She then made resin casts “to try and imitate crystals and gems. The meeting of these two worlds is where I feel the magic of Crystalline Garden starts to happen.” The Crystalline Garden, 906 Broadway, March 18 through July 1.

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