Heimir Bjorgulfsson grew up in an Icelandic town so small that its one television station didn't broadcast on Thursdays so the staff could have a day off.

Heimir Bjorgulfsson grew up in an Icelandic town so small that its one television station didn't broadcast on Thursdays so the staff could have a day off.

The natural world around him was mostly untouched by man. He dreamed of becoming an ornithologist, and drew pictures of birds. Then teenaged music dreams took over and he decided to study sound art.

"I went to art school in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands is basically a man-made country. Even when you walk into forest, it's a man-made forest," he said. "The clash between that and my background started giving me a sense of direction in my work."

That direction also slowly became purely visual - a combination of paintings, collage, photography, drawings and sculpture that Bjorgulfsson routinely produces simultaneously, tugging at ideas about man-made and natural landscapes, as well as the social history of the places that he has called home.

In 2005, he landed in Los Angeles for a residency and found it otherworldly compared to the lands of his childhood and education. He felt that exploration benefited his work so much that the three months he had planned turned into a permanent stay.

"Southern California is the opposite of Europe - the people, the culture, the nature, the climate," he said.

And unlike the order of European cities, or even northeastern U.S. cities, "Los Angeles is much more sporadic. It's like a lot of cities that have become one city through freeways."

His personal narrative is not always explicit in his artwork. "If I didn't point it out to you, you may not see it, but that's the great thing about art, you have your own relationship to it," he said. "I think you should interpret the work on your own terms."

But Bjorgulfsson doesn't intend to make any value judgments about what is natural versus what is manmade.

"I'm not interested in the solution," he said. "I'm more interested in the question."