Sean Norvet can paint a cinematic surreal fantasy on an 8 x 10” panel like few other artists we know, and when he paints on a large scale, it’s a revelation of imagination. What seems like a disjointed stream of consciousness, like madness on the brink of spinning apart, is actually a concise expression of joy in the visual mania. “Pushing and pulling from drab reality until it achieves a psychedelic euphoria,” Norvet called it, prior to his last solo show at Richard Heller in 2019. “The low sharing space with the high. Celebrating and finding the beauty in the massive overload of information, not the shame. Ephemera meeting divine forms of nature.” 

The Los Angeles artist seems to have skillfully captured the sense of the times in which we live, as his newest solo show, Motion Pictures, at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica reveals. And the size of the works, larger and more dense, is a immersive. Norvet has always explored that fine line between low and high culture and visual aesthetics, and considers a canvas where “everything’s considered equal.” Perhaps that is what we need more and more, a place where a balance is set between our impulses. We relished our break from a fast-paced life two years ago, and embedded ourselves in Netflix, books, interior design, cooking, long walks. Norvet seems to have taken his work in a direction where that seeming time of relaxation and reflection has now been usurped by a sense of minor lunacy. As we look out in the world, high and low culture seem to be clashing, and Norvet is painting that dizzying landscape. —Evan Pricco