Thordis Adalsteinsdottir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. From 1999 to 2000, she attended the Universidad de Barcelona, receiving a BFA from the Icelandic Academy of Arts In 1999 and a MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 2003.
The paintings of Thordis Adalsteinsdottir present emotionally charged moments in a weightless manner. Her personable narratives are often hilariously sinister and casually violent.
Eccentricity distinguishes her work, peculiarly portraying the symbolic relationship between human, plant and animal life. Her male and female protagonists are androgynously painted in a near crude physicality with loose stringy strands of hair, knobby limbs, and contemporary modish clothing that often float in space.
Influences range from Egon Schiele to Elizabeth Peyton, geometric abstraction, Op art, minimalism, expressionism, folk art, and outsider art. Out of flat planes and shapes comes vivid color that punctuates the existential narrative. Adalsteinsdottir paints in an ultra flat manner with carefully nursed details, interrupted by repetitive freehand patterns and unexpected pops of eccentric textures. Even though her paintings achieve extremely cohesive rhythms in composition, Adalsteinsdottir does not work from sketches, and this raw spontaneity clashes wonderfully with the refinement of her controlled execution.
In her sculptures, the paper maché surfaces and gentle colors create a toy-like innocence that masks the underlying darkness for the ripe moment. Removed from the snug constellation of her painted scenes, these fantastically rogue agents trespass the boundary between art and reality and become even more invasive and confronting.
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir has exhibited in major museums and galleries world-wide, including The Reykjavik Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo, Den Frie Udstilling in Copenhagen, Konstakademien in Stockholm and the Royal College of Art in London. In 2008, Adalsteinsdottir was a finalist for the prestigious Carnegie Art Award for Nordic Painting. She was a recipient of the 2012 NYFA fellowship grant.
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir lives and works in New York and Reykjavik.