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Imitation or Interpretation? See How Tróndur Patursson Interprets Nature in His Works

Tróndur Patursson illustrating one of his signature stained-glass bird sculptures. Pinterest.

Nature

Imitation or Interpretation? See How Tróndur Patursson Interprets Nature in His Works

When living in the Faroe Islands, it is impossible not to be inspired by its beautiful nature. A local to the islands, the artist Tróndur Patursson centers all his work around this unspoiled nature without directly imitating it. Interpreting nature with an abstract and expressionist approach, Patursson became well known in the Faroe Islands as well as in other Nordic countries.

Tróndur Patursson photographed in front of his atelier.
Tróndur Patursson photographed in front of his atelier. Alex Boyd Photography.

Tróndur Patursson was born in the village of Kirkjubøur, the Faroe Islands, in 1944. He spent most of his life in this village, except when he went to Norway to study at an art academy. Initially starting his artistic production with sculptures, Patursson later produced paintings, illustrations, glass paintings, and installations.

Tróndur Patursson, Autumn, 1999, National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.
Tróndur Patursson, Autumn, 1999, National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

Patursson’s artistic style differs from many of his fellow Faroese artists. For many generations, Faroese artists directly portrayed or imitated the natural sceneries of the islands. The painter Ingálvur av Reyni, however, pioneered a more abstract approach to these beautiful natural surroundings. Being the next generation after Reyni, Patursson developed an even more abstract and experimental approach when it comes to composition as well as material.

Illustrations for the book Moby Dick, 1999, Randers Art Museum.
Illustrations for the book Moby Dick, 1999, Randers Art Museum, Randers, Denmark. Artist’s website.

Patursson created artworks that were inspired by, but definitely not copies of, nature. Today, the artist still lives in his hometown Kirkjubøur and keeps on working. His works have been exhibited in parts of the Faroe Islands, Denmark and the USA. Here are a few outstanding examples of Patursson’s numerous works of art.

Tróndur Patursson, stained-glass paintings, 1991-94, Gøtu Church, Gøtugjógv, Faroe Islands.
Tróndur Patursson, stained-glass paintings, 1991–94, Gøtu Church, Gøtugjógv, Faroe Islands.

Gøtu Church on Eysturoy in the Faroe Islands

Tróndur Patursson designed the altar, two of the windows, pulpit, lamps, and several other ornaments of the Gøtu Church. As typical of the artist, he worked with glass in all these pieces. Looking closely, it is easy to see how he drew inspiration from the ocean, waves and seafarers.

Tróndur Patursson, Migration, 2013, exhibited at the Nordic Cool Festival.
Tróndur Patursson, Migration, 2013, exhibited at the Nordic Cool Festival. Sculpture Magazine.

Migration

As part of Nordic Cool in Washington DC, USA (an appreciation festival for Nordic artists), Patursson created Migration. The installation consists of over 80 bird sculptures made of glass. The artist explains that he was inspired by how free the birds look when they are flying in the sky. When it’s their time to migrate, they soar freely, just as they are positioned for this installation.

Tróndur Patursson, Cosmic Space, 2003, exhibited in Copenhagen in 2016.
Tróndur Patursson, Cosmic Space, 2003, exhibited in Copenhagen in 2016. Jayson Cheung.

Cosmic Space

Cosmic Space was created out of glass paintings and mirrors. While creating this installation, Patursson was inspired by a naval adventure that he went on with his seafarer friend Tim Severin. During the journey on a small boat, the artist was impressed by how they were fully surrounded by nature, with the ocean at the bottom and sky at the top. By creating this room, Patursson wanted to transfer the feeling of being in the middle of what feels like endless nature.  


Explore more artists who were fascinated by nature:

As a western languages and literatures graduate, I am so obsessed with fine arts as well as anything associated to cinema.

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