Ian Norstad's "The Sea is a Desert" @ Public Land Gallery

Ian Norstad's "The Sea is a Desert" @ Public Land Gallery

The sea is a wilderness of waves,

A desert of water.

We dip and dive,

Rise and roll,

Hide and are hidden

On the sea.

Day, night,

Night, day,

The sea is a desert of waves,

A wilderness of water.


Long Trip by Langston Hughes


 Ian Norstad’s exhibition, The Sea is a Desert, is a new body of work inspired by a return to the ocean after the loss of his house (and art studio) to the Nuns Fire in 2017. In the artist’s paintings, offbeat colors and abstraction are employed to gracefully depict the ever-changing movement of the ocean, while figures are shown atop water seemingly suspended in time. In one painting, Norstad has portrayed a figure with arms fully extended outward, appearing to be levitating on the water. The powerful image resembles the iconic depiction of Christ on the Cross; perhaps suggesting the religious attributes that the act of surfing, or surfers themselves, can have while riding waves. “There is something that happens when you go to the ocean that is very primal. It’s only you and the will of the water, and you realize how small and powerless you are. I gave myself to the water, and this body of work represents what the water has given back to me,” says Norstad. This will be the first time this new body of work will be on display publicly. There will be an opening reception for The Sea is a Desert on December 4th, 6-9 P.M. at Public Land Gallery. The exhibition will be on view through February 8th, 2022.

Ian Norstad graduated with a BFA in Painting and Drawing from California College of the Arts in 2008. He lives and works in Sonoma County.

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