Tag Archives: Elizabeth Bourne

BOURNE AGAIN: New Svalbard Spitsbergen Kunstnersenteret/ Artists Center debuts opening event Monday as artist Elizabeth Bourne takes over former Galleri Svalbard building


“Running an art gallery in the high Arctic is not a job for most people,” Elizabeth Bourne wrote three years ago in a lengthy feature about Galleri Svalbard when she traveled from her hometown of Seattle to Longyearbyen for the debut of her exhibit at the gallery – or, more precisely, her first exhibit.

She’s had two more since moving to Svalbard a few months after publishing that feature and on Monday she’ll officially preside over the first exhibit as the curator of the gallery building, taking control of from the city which has managed it as a gallery since 1995.

WANT A PIECE OF ME? New art exhibit debuting Friday features slice of originality as featured painting will allow buyers to use scissors to cut off sections they like


Painting by Elizabeth Bourne

“Have it your way” is generally not a concept offered to customers of fine art, but those attending the debut of a new exhibit of paintings at Galleri Svalbard on Friday evening will be offered the opportunity to customize their order by literally taking scissors to a featured piece to cut off sections they like.

THE BOURNE IDENTITY – EXTENDED-LENGTH EDITION: Latest ‘canvas’ by Svalbard artist requires a walk around the room to experience an icy meltdown of global proportions


It begins with a disjointed encounter of vagueness whose outcome is shrouded by a black wall spanning the vast distance between you and fate.

If that seems like you’re simply unable to grasp the concept of the creator be reassured. You’re going through exactly the same experience that made possibly her abnormally long stretch of feeling blue – albeit artistically instead of physically, for which you should have a healthy appreciation.

ARTIST RESIDENCY IN EXILE: ‘News of the 14-day quarantine hit. I despaired’…now after surreal experience returning from U.S. ‘pure joy’ isolated with new canine friends on mainland


(Editor’s note: The following is an essay by Elizabeth Bourne, a Seattle artist who moved to Longyearbyen a year ago. She is now in quarantine on the Norwegian mainland until April 1 after returning to the U.S. to sell her home and possessions in anticipation of living in Svalbard for the foreseeable future. It is presented with minimal editing.) 

Home. To return home is one of nature’s strongest instincts. Monarch butterflies travel 3,000 miles to return home. King salmon swim 6,000 miles to find their home pond. Arctic terns fly an amazing 24,000 miles from their southern grounds back to Svalbard to nest. 

My home is also Svalbard. I was 4,000 miles and nine time zones away as news reached me of how bad coronavirus was in other countries – China, S. Korea, Iran, Italy. Seattle had one case, then suddenly it spread like fire through nursing homes in Seattle, then patients’ families spread it into the south Seattle community, and further. I worried how I would get home, if I could get home.

MIAMI ICE: Elizabeth Bourne wins creativity award – and third overall – for Svalbard photo essay at ‘most important art fair’ in the U.S.


It was something of a burden for Elizabeth Bourne to make the long journey from Svalbard back to the United States she’d left earlier this year just so she could be among the thousands of creative minds seeking to create an impression at what The New York Times calls “the country’s most important art fair.”

But at the urging of folks there she paid her own way to leave the frigid Arctic polar night for an otherworldly week in hot and humid Miami. As a result she now has to lug a rather huge burden back to her new home, as she won the “Unleash Your Creativity Series” award and finished third among all artists at the 17th annual Art Basel for her photograph collection “Svalbard: Land Without Borders.”

Light season blues: Artist Elizabeth Bourne is a ‘pagophile’ who’s moved into the neighborhood. That’s actually very cool


Elizabeth Bourne describes herself as an “unapologetic pagophile,” which might make her new neighbors’ blood run cold. Unless they find out what it means, at which point they’ll know her blood runs very cold.

The foremost definition refers to life forms that “prefer to live in ice.” Or, alternately and presumably more appropriately in this instance, perform certain activities on the ice (breeding is cited as an example).