"Raymond Pettibon's surfer images imagine an ecstatic peace, of being swept away from oneself in some flight with only the wing and a prayer of survival as one's pilot. He draws this idealized space for what it is, not a tangible reality but a dream, taking us to that magical place where you might just find yourself when the horizon line is lost and disorientation is your only compass. What makes these works truly about the surf is more than mere subject matter; it is their rhythm, the insistent up and down, the in and out, the disillusion of what it means to be inside or outside. And there in the spume, or hovering above it all where the sea in veils and shrouds approximate the clouds, are the words like desperate messages slipped out of their bottles..."
Carlo McCormick, “Waveform: Riding the Sublime to the Song of the Sea,” in Exh. Cat., New York, Venus over Manhattan, Raymond Pettibon: Surfers 1985-2015, 2015, p. 14