Permanence & Impermanence:  Iceland - A Land of Temporal Contrasts

​jean Larson

Certain places inspire us to look at time in different ways.  Some can highlight the impermanence of all things, while others seem to evoke a sense of eternity.  Iceland is one of those places.  However, in this case the balance seems to be constantly shifting between expressions of permanence and impermanence: a mere new-born in geological terms, yet it is a land of timeless landscapes; barely millennial as a society, yet with institutions that have survives longer than anywhere else.


Since discovering this enchanted island for myself, I have found these temporal contrasts constantly influencing my work.  My paintings are inspired by the myriad species of lichen that cover the coasts and craggy mountains of Iceland.  These are intricate worlds within worlds, each its own universe of color and texture.  Lichen are believed by many to be some of the oldest living organisms on the planet.  Meanwhile, my photos often depict the rusting bows of old ships, frayed ropes and fishing nets, metal-clad buildings battered by howling Arctic winds.  This is nature relentlessly reclaiming all that is made by human hand, turning it back to its fundamental elements.


Jean Larson

The Dennos Museum

             Traverse City, MI

          September 18 - December 31, 2016