The Thirteenth Day exhibition at Skaftfell Art Center is a presentation of work created, both collaboratively and individually, by Jessica Langley and Ben Kinsley during their extended stay in Iceland. The title The Thirteenth Day refers to Þrettándinn, the celebration held on the 13th day after Christmas when the last of the Yule Lads is said to return to the mountains after a holiday season of mischief – a transitional time between the imaginary and the everyday. Having the opportunity to experience the famous Þrettándinn celebration in the Westman Islands has proven to be a corner stone of the artists’ time in Iceland. Both the event itself and the ideas it represents are reflected in the work featured in this exhibition.
The all-inclusive nature of the Westman Islands’ Þrettándinn parade (featuring costumed performers, hundreds of enthusiasts, torches, fireworks, a raging bonfire, and the local search and rescue team) and the accompanying house parties, dances, and other community-wide celebrations is a more perfect realization of what Ben Kinsley attempts to achieve in his greater body of work. His staged events and performances are ongoing investigations into community interaction and creative play, often requiring a suspended disbelief on the part of participants and viewers.
Jessica Langley was in Iceland as a 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow as well as a Leifur Eiriksson Foundation Scholar. She graduated with her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2005 and received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008. She has been featured in New American Paintings and has exhibited in galleries internationally. While in Iceland she has participated in artist residencies at SIM (The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists) in Reykjavik, Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, and Skaftfell Art Center.
Ben Kinsley has exhibited in the United States and abroad in museums, galleries, and film festivals and has work included in the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. He received his BFA in 2005 from the Cleveland Institute of Art, is a 2006 alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and received his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Ben is living and working in Iceland with the aid of the First Agnes Gund Traveling Award from the Cleveland Institute of Art and has participated in artist residencies at SIM (The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists) in Reykjavik, Nes Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, and Skaftfell Art Center.