Iceland is rich in centuries of artistic creation, influenced by major European trends, yet it has preserved its unique identity. The country’s literary heritage originates from the 12th and 14th Century, and today’s Icelandic culture thrives with professional theatres, art galleries, museums, cinemas, a symphony orchestra, and opera.
Gudrun Newman is one of the most successful contemporary artists to emerge out of Iceland in recent years. Gudrun started to draw figures and create art at a very young age. She was influenced by many of Iceland’s prominent visual artists, including Erro and Johannes S. Kjarval, and credits other European masters such as Wolf Kahn and Kandinsky as major forces in her artistic development.
As an adult, Gudrun came to the United States and studied at the famed Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. It was during this academic period that Gudrun’s work developed into the mature style of painting for which she is known today. Gudrun’s paintings embody a unique blend of iconography that combines the tradition and culture of Iceland with the open, light-filled palette of South Florida. Her paintings have an ethereal sensibility grounded with a rich and vibrant human quality that seems to communicate a powerful force to the viewer, inviting us seductively into their landscape.
As a thriving artist and business woman, Gudrun opened a large contemporary gallery in the downtown Sarasota area where she represented herself and a number of leading internationally recognized artists. Her gallery was on the cutting edge of contemporary art in Southwest Florida for over ten years, servicing designers, architects, and collectors worldwide. In recent years, Gudrun’s artistic career has expanded so much and her paintings have become so sought after that she closed her gallery in order to dedicate herself to painting full time. Now she spends her time traveling between her studios in Iceland and Florida, mastering her techniques, and experimenting with new mediums and subject matter. Many of Gudrun’s paintings are created in either pastel or acrylic, but she has also worked in oil, collage, photography, and sculpture.
Her artwork is best described as post impressionism, as it varies from abstract figurative to non-objective and minimal. Newman’s paintings start with her concern with form and color, while the work’s narrative revolves around her personal imaginings as a reflection of natural shapes. “My work uses texture, form, design and color to tell a compelling story about the human condition.”
Each work arises technically in a way similar to that in which a composer creates a symphony. “My brushes and pallet knife strike the canvas and explore many aspects of my artistic vision. The color selection I use brings out my inventive stylized form and each piece of work I create is a reflection of my own personal experience that I hope has special meaning to others.”
“I am only the instrument holding the brush and applying the paint, everything else happens on its own.”
Her paintings are found in numerous private and corporate collections, both nationally and internationally.