Ingálvur av Reyni (1906-2005): Trawler Deck. 1999. Oil on canvas, 230 x 380 cm. Donation from the New Carlsberg Fund 1999.
Due to the family's fishering business, trawlers were a part of the artist's life. The modern subject is here represented in a modern form. Yet not in the mechanical manner of pure geometry, which the subject might altogether suggest.
Nor do we see any bridge, winches and radar. Indeed we are able to glimpse a horizon below a red sky and maybe a few silhouetted figures. But the rest is total absence of anything recognisable. Actually, the work is about the painting itself, the dramatic colours and sensuous, powerful brush strokes.
The painting does, however, represent the deck of a trawler in the sense that it is a scene of constant toil, powerful forces of nature, dark days and dangerous work. Such a subject receives a powerful expression in an otherwise pure painting. Gloomy, violent and gigantic, it speaks of the drama of existence.
Ingálvur av Reyni (1920-2005): Self-portrait. 1955. Oil on canvas, 140 x 104 cm. Private collection.
A handsome man in a monumental representation. Viewed from below, the broad-shouldered figure with the strong features dominates all of the canvas. The stern expression exudes determination and strength, but strictly speaking his personality is subordinate.
First of all, the painting is an essay in strict form with colours respecting both the surface and the space of the painting. In this way form emerges by the arrangement of the red and green facets.
Ingálvur learnt to use these contrasting colours from his professor in Denmark, Axel Jørgensen. However, this is treated in the spirit of Cubism and Paul Cézanne, an indication of the artist's development towards abstract painting.