Office of Public Affairs

1/16/20 — USM Art Galleries presents "Lusus Naturae" — video and sound installation by Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal


Press Contact:
Daniel Hartill, USM Communications and Media Relations Specialist, 207-780-4744

USM Art Department Contact:
Carolyn Eyler, Director of Exhibitions & Programs, 207-780-5008 

*Images available here.

USM Art Galleries presents "Lusus Naturae" — video and sound installation by Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal 

GORHAM, Maine — The University of Southern Maine (USM) Art Galleries presents "Lusus Naturae," a large-scale animated video and sound installation by Icelandic artists Ólöf Nordal, Gunnar Karlsson, and Þuríður Jónsdótti. The exhibition will open on Thursday, January 30, at the USM Art Gallery on the Gorham Campus.

On Thursday, March 12, at 6:00 p.m., the closing reception will include a gallery performance by USM School of Music (SoM) students, followed by a brief Q&A with Artist-in-Residence Ólöf Nordal. 

The March 12 reception marks the start of Nordal’s residency at USM, culminating with a public event at Thompson's Point on April 29, including an art installation by Nordal and a panel talk at the Maine North Atlantic Institute conference.

"We are very excited to host this fun and provocative video installation featuring the deep sea, an area of growing interest between us and Iceland. The interdisciplinary collaborations involved in its restaging here, including a live performance with the School of Music students, is especially rewarding,” said Carolyn Eyler, USM director of exhibitions and programs.

"Lusus Naturae" was originally performed at the Hafnarborg Centre of Culture and Art, Iceland, in 2014. 

"Lusus naturae presents a dreamlike vision of the deep seas. It tells the story of the circle of life: the birth of fictional beings, their existence, death, and rebirth. The course of events is slow, like in the pressure areas in the abyss. Sound and images pull the audience into territory that borders on the natural and the supernatural, figurative and abstract," writes Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir, director, Hafnarborg Centre. Read the full essay via USM Art Galleries. 

SoM students, faculty, and special guests:
Students: Christopher Petterson, Flute; Devin Adams, Contrabassoon; Jonas Rimkunas, Tenor. USM SoM faculty: Krysia Tripp, flute; and guest Carl Dimow, USM ’86, flute.

Ólöf Nordal
Ólöf Nordal has a successful career as a visual artist in Iceland and abroad. She uses various media to channel her work, primarily sculpture, photography, and video installation, in addition to creating works for public spaces. She has tackled various topics regarding culture, origin, and folklore, working with local and global matters. Gunnar Karlsson is a pioneer in Icelandic animation and works both as director and creative director on his films, which have received numerous awards at international film festivals. His latest full-length animated feature was Thor – the Legend of Valhalla. Gunnar Karlsson is also an avid illustrator and political cartoonist as well as a painter. The composer Þuríður Jónsdóttir has written various types of compositions, some include electronic sounds, audience participation, dramatics, and sounds from nature. Her works have been performed by Icelandic and international orchestras at renowned music festivals. Þuríður Jónsdóttir has been nominated for the Icelandic Music Awards and the Nordic Music Prize. Gunnar Karlsson, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, and Ólöf Nordal have collaborated before, on Nordal’s video work Sealmaiden (2006–2009), the audiovisual happening Cock’s Egg (2005), and the multimedia project Hafurinn og hallarfrúin (2009).



Situated in Maine’s economic and cultural center, USM is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking courses online and at campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn. Known for its academic excellence, student focus and engagement with the community, USM provides students with hands-on experience that complements classroom learning and leads to employment opportunities in one of the nation’s most desirable places to live.