Glimmers of life
Hulda’s career as a painter started while she was living in the countryside, in a strict contact with the powerful and majestic Icelandic nature, which inspired her to take the decision of making art her life.
Her father was the first who saw her talent, he bought her brushes and a book of art, pushing her to develop her ability. He was often traveling around Iceland and he transmitted to his daughter his passion for the culture and the nature of their homeland, teaching her the names of the Icelandic mountains and telling her stories about them. Nature was, in fact, the first subject of Hulda’s artistic research: mountains, rivers and sea, the stunning and powerful beauty of these elements were too physically present to be ignored. She dug so deep into the essence of the land embracing her, that while she was portraying it she realized that the soft and, at the same time, violent shapes and movements of nature resembled women’s bodies and characters, Icelandic women in particular.
Her interest shifted from nature to human being and her art changed consequently. When she moved to the capital she kept on looking at human life as she used to contemplate nature, exploring it with curiosity. Over time she found out that the same flux of life underlying the strong expressions of nature flows in human beings, creating an indissoluble link between them and their origin. This hidden connection appears in little gestures that elude the rational control of a person, simple bits of this flux of life coming to the surface from her/his inner self. Walking down to the streets lost in thought, the emotions you feel shine through your face in subtle contractions of muscles, embodying a primitive emotion. Hulda, thanks to her past experience in observing nature, developed the ability to look deeply and empathetically into these expressions of secret emotional states, grasping our inner feelings and reworking them into her paintings.
Hulda is an eclectic artist, her explosive creativity emerges also in written form: she takes inspiration from the day by day life to write little poems. Her ability to look at the life with a fresh and curious look makes her poems shine like little jewels which amaze the readers with their beauty and simplicity. Her poems are often connected with her paintings, they can be seen as a supplement to them, a sort of key through which the viewer can read the scenes represented in the canvas.
Hulda’s look on the world has been influenced by a diary her mother wrote few years before passing away, a diary in which she collected her memories from when she was a young girl in the countryside. The poetic and bucolic life her mother lead is a source of inspiration for Hulda: the perfect symbiosis between human beings and nature described in that diary tells us about a pure and innocent life, an existence that could be tough sometimes, but that was also a climax of peaceful cohabitation between living creatures and earth. This is what Hulda tries to recuperate within contemporary life: she looks for glimmers of that bucolic life in the spontaneous expressions of our emotions, which keep human beings connected with nature.
Contemporary life is far different from the fairy tale described in Hulda’s mother diary, it is instead frenetic and chaotic. Hulda feels and absorbs this powerful and fast dynamism, she wants to embrace every aspect of contemporary life within her paintings to give a true representation of Icelanders' approach to it. In order to not be overwhelmed by this velocity, she meditates to reach a calm state of mind. Her paintings show a mix of both the artificial hyper-stimulating world and the underlying natural flux of life: the powerful signs left by her brush contain all of the energy she collected both by being surrounded by the active city life and by living in a land where nature is so present. Her technique can be rough, strong and fast as an Icelandic snowstorm, but it can also be soft, delicate and calm as a flower in early bloom.
Hulda captures the real Icelandic life by portraying women which can be seen as anthropomorphic representations of Icelandic mountains: in some of her paintings they seem to be in the middle of a vortex and to become part of it, like mountains shrouded in a storm, while in other representations they seem to be immobilised in private moments, their mysterious and calm expressions recall in the viewer the same feeling caused by the mountains that raise from the Icelandic soil. Icelandic heights are in fact massive but low and flat, far different from the romantic sharp cliffs which produce a sublime feeling of terror in the viewers, Icelandic mountains have instead gentle shapes, they reassure us with their strength and at the same time seem to demand our respect, just like mothers.
Hulda has been working also on abstract paintings which have been developed through many years of materials and colors experimentation. In these pieces she uses the brush like an extension of her hand through which she dances on the paper, leaving behind it sinuous lines of paint. She found herself comfortable with the oriental style of painting, using Japanese brushes and ink, which matches her inclination for meditation and her research for a zen state of mind. Her abstract paintings resemble the Haiku style of poetry which is composed of a few simple signs that are the result of a long process of synthesis. For these pieces, she took inspiration from the waving movement the sea flowers, which move in fluidic and slow sways even when the sea is dominated by powerful and violent waves. The water in the deep seas, where sea flowers and seaweed grow is quiet regardless the surface of the sea is.
Hulda wishes that everyone could reach the same calm the sea flowers seem to have. The innocence and beauty of these flowers and of nature, in general, should be protected: nature is an important refuge for human beings, a way to connect with our inner peace and with our ancestral roots. She strongly believes that all of the human beings deserve to feel this genuine and safe sensation given by wild nature through which everyone can achieve a deep consciousness of being alive.
Text by: Ana Victoria Bruno