Nicholas Norris utilizes bold hues and innovative patterns to create surreal landscapes that reverberate among moments of vibrancy, stillness, and wonder. Exposing different perspectives on interior worlds, Norris’s work often touches upon several spaces simultaneously generating hybrid environments that deluge sentimental weight. Places and spaces are altered and synthesized through Norris’s lens, creating a lack of cognizant immediacy that fosters instances of rediscovery.
Color relationships and patterns are carefully considered throughout Norris's work. In mid summer waltz (2022), the interior space has been abstracted into variations of large blocks of colors, shades, and patterns. As the viewer's eye travels around the canvas, recognizable elements start to unfold. A giant arc of yellow with four aqua blue stripes lends a reference to a mantle place with a picture hung above. Differentiation in color and pattern not only delineates the separation of space and objects, but also allows for multiple perceptions of color. A rich swath of deep blue sits behind the mantle place layered with varied instances of contrasting and complementary colors. Orange, pink, green, and light blue hues sit upon the deep blue surface generating a visual dialogue of discord and harmony.
There is an intensity of color and a rapidity to the expression of domestic interiors cultivated in Norris’s works. Similar to Pierre Bonnard, Norris highlights the relationships among objects, colors, geometry, and light in interior scenes. In slug (2022), a coffee table is positioned in the middle of the room. On top of the table sits two objects ever so slightly askew. The objects’ shadows drape behind them dictating the quality of light as they face a slug-shaped entity near the window. There is a particular humanistic quality that these objects possess, a weight they hold as they face one another lost deep in a static conversation.
Well-grounded in a consistent drawing practice, Norris utilizes his preliminary sketches as a way to quickly envision and reform space. When painting, Norris often references his sketches lingering on certain elements that can be adapted for present use. This becomes a deliberate act of investigation and problem solving as he works through each piece. In vernon ave (2022), a lush green interior opens up onto sunkissed rolling hills. The resulting combination becomes a blend of interior and exterior spaces untethered by geography or time.
The title of the show, look at that water, is a lyric from the song Blue Eyed Baby by Ed Askew. The phrase alludes to the overwhelming sense of awe and bemusement one may feel when looking out onto a large body of water. The dichotomy between order and chaos is frequently touched upon in Norris's works. As Norris opens up his interior scenes onto the exterior world, light filters through and frames undulating landscapes. There is a sense of structure that is exuded from our interior worlds, a classification found in the way we organize our living spaces to reflect ourselves and our character.
Nicholas Norris (b.1991 Phoenix, Arizona) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a BFA in painting from Maine College of Art and an MFA from Hunter College. Norris has participated in group exhibitions at EKELY, Copenhagen, DK; Haus am Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, Germany; Hasenheide 9, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, DK; and Friedman Gallery, Portland, ME, amongst others.