by Norma Wangness
April 4 - August, 2013
There will be a Gallery Reception held on Monday, April 29, 2013 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. in the Hovde Lounge. This event is open to all.
Norma Wangsness was born in Ossian, Iowa and is a direct descendent of mid-17th century immigrants from Heddel and Telemark, Norway. She studied drawing and painting at Luther College with Orville Running; landscape and fine art portraiture with Maxine Pendry; portrait painting with Daniel Greene; airbrush painting with Sam Bogosian; and rosemaling with Sigmund Aarseth, Nils Ellingaard and numerous others.
For 25 years Norma her husband, Willis, operated Wangsness Photography Studio in Decorah, IA. Willis took the pictures and Norma was the artist partner who hand-colored the photographs. In that capacity, she became a regional and national leader in photographic arts standards and education. In 1974 she earned a Photographic Artist Degree from the American Photographic Artist Guild. A year later she earned her Third Degree, Photographic Craftsman, and in 1983 the Master Artist Degree. She has served as National Vice President of the American Photographic Artist Guild and President of the Iowa Photographic Artists. She has also been a presenter and judge at the state and national levels. Her work has won several awards from the National Photographers Association, and in 1994 she received the National Service Award from the Professional Photographers of America, of which she is a life member.
In 1967 Norma began to study rosemaling at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum with Sigmund Aarseth. She became known for the incorporation of detailed landscapes and portraits into her rosemaling. She received several ribbons at the museum’s National Exhibition of Folk Arts in the Norwegian Tradition, and in 2000 was awarded a Gold Medal from Vesterheim. In 2011 the museum commissioned her to create a plate in honor of Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja’s most recent visit to Decorah. She painted a portrait of the Royal Couple and bordered it with rosemaling that matched the pattern of the Queen’s bunad. Norma described the opportunity to present the gift in person as “one of the greatest honors and the highlight of my career.”