Encounter Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir's sculptures at Mission Hill winery

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Over 5,000 kilometers separate Reykjavik and Kelowna, but people in the Okanagan Valley may feel closer than ever to the Nordic country this summer. Encounters with Iceland, an art exhibit featuring the works of Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir are on display now until October at Mission Hill Family Estate winery in Kelowna.

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The exhibit features more than 40 large-scale sculptures by Thórarinsdóttir, and this is the largest exhibition of her work in North America.

At a media reception at the Vancouver Art Gallery rooftop on June 23, Mission Hill proprietor Anthony von Mandl said that he discovered Thórarinsdóttir’s work during a trip to Iceland in summer 2013. He said that almost immediately, von Mandl and his wife Debra knew that Thórarinsdóttir’s art would be a natural fit at the winery.

“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” von Mandl stated in a news release. “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.”

The sculptures, which were transported to Kelowna from other exhibitors across North America and Thórarinsdóttir’s studio in Reykjavik, mainly consist of life-size human forms. Thórarinsdóttir, who was in Vancouver for the exhibit launch, said that the sculptures were modeled after her son.

“My works explore the human condition in all its variety and how man relates to the environment and to each other,” Thórarinsdóttir explained in a press statement. “Often a dialogue between the viewer and the work is formed with a tactile and personal interaction as the figures occupy the same space as we do. The aim is to leave a lot to the imagination and experience of the viewer. Each piece is firmly rooted in my Icelandic origin, reflecting the power and proximity of the elements.”

To commemorate the Encounters with Iceland exhibit, Mission Hill winery will release a collection of 20 different wine labels featuring Thórarinsdóttir’s work. The wine labels will be placed on bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2012 and Riesling Icewine 2013, and available for purchased at Mission Hill Family Estate winery in July.

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