Crossing and Recrossing the Rivers of Iceland by Chris Drury, photo by Tom Grotta

Chris Drury’s Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland will be exhibited by browngrotta arts at SOFA NY 2012. The handwritten text on the peat-impregnated paper lists and repeats all the rivers crossed on a six- day walk from Porsmork to Landmanalauga in Iceland. The pattern is from a satellite image of a storm that hit us on the fourth day. The story behind Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland Drury and a friend with a heart condition, went on a six-day walk in central Iceland. On the fourth day they were hit by a storm and waited out the night in a hut. The following day, the storm was still raging but they used a four-hour lull to try and catch their plane.  They started for the next hut at 3:00 p.m., crossing a cold river and climbing 2000 feet to a snow-covered plateau. On the top the storm returned and they were enveloped in a whiteout.

7cd Crossing and Recrossing the Rivers of Iceland, photo by TomGrotta

Drury’s friend announced that he wasn’t going to make it to the hut. He was, in fact, having a heart attack. Drury didn’t know it, but his heart was shutting down. He gave him some water, which he used to swallow pills given him by his doctor for just such an emergency. The pills saved his life and he was able to make it to the hut. This experience is reflected in Crossing and Re-crossing the Rivers of Iceland. The blood flows in the heart in a double vortex pattern called a Cardiac Twist; the storm that Drury and his friend were caught in had that same pattern. Drury is an environmental artist who has created site-specific works from South Africa to Ireland to Wyoming. In recent years he has studied systems in the body and on the planet, with particular reference to systems of blood flow in the heart, including combining measurements of the “Earth’s heartbeat,” echograms of Antarctica, with the heartbeat, echocardiogram, of a pilot who flies there in his work, Double Echo. Drury’s work has been included in several books, including Chris Drury: Found Moments in Time and Space (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.).