Hulda Stefánsdóttir (b. 1972) studied in Iceland and New York. Since the turn of the century she has held several exhibitions in addition to teaching and holding a professorship at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Her paintings are sparse and deceptively simple, almost minimalistic, most often executed in various shades of grey so that the texture of the surface becomes not only a background but a prominent feature. The surfaces reveal details that we rarely notice when looking at more brightly coloured paintings, like low-pitched voices that we only hear when all else is silent. When we look closely there is a surprising depth and a wealth of detail in these apparently monochromatic pieces. Her exhibitions, too, break with painterly tradition. Instead of presenting individual panels, she creates geometric arrangements where paintings of different hues, sizes, and dimensions combine in a delicate but effective whole. In many ways, Hulda’s paintings refer back to the early days of abstract art – to the time of Hilma af Klint, Kasimir Malevich, and Joseph Albers.
Her exhibitions seem to revel in the newly discovered freedom of nonrepresentational art – the freedom to consider colour, shape, and surface on its own terms. Yet they also engage directly with contemporary aesthetic debates. In this context, her quiet and unassuming paintings provoke more concentration and thought than most of the more flamboyant art of our time.