For the past two decades I have been working on two series, Songs for My Father and Sanger Fra Mor (Norwegian for Songs from my Mother). These series broadly encompass many aspects of the sea—the beauty, drama, and power of the ocean; the environmental threats to the eco-system and the fisheries; and the sea that supports the livelihood of families.


In 2010, I turned my attention away from the commercial fishing theme, a world dominated by men, to explore the distaff side of a Norwegian fishing family. My mother, like many other women in fishing families, was lonely, longing, and left behind. The first project exploring this theme is Dancers—sixty multi-layered monotypes, six suites of ten each, in various iterations, of a dancing couple in Times Square. Each work is titled with a phrase from a song title. The images recall personal experiences, as well as my mother and father’s meeting. 

Michael Torlen


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