Michael Norton (b. 1953 Wilmington, North Carolina) is a painter specializing in abstract egg-tempera works on board. He is currently based in Los Angeles, CA, where he has lived on and off since the 1970s. Norton studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, but left after one year to pursue his practice independently. Norton has exhibited his work across the country, most recently at his former representative gallery ACME, among others.
Largely self-taught, Norton’s enigmatic paintings mean different things to different people. In a 1994 review of his works for the Los Angeles Times, critic Susan Kandel described certain gestures as “notations or impassive descriptions of forests, skies, and mountains: a horizon line, a hint of darkness suggesting…trees, a burst of light denoting dawn” while Leah Ollman’s 1998 review for the Los Angeles Times asserted his paintings to be “capsules of being, feeling and seeing, not thinking.” The meticulous nature of his process as well as his tendency to exclusively title his work numerically lends to this atmosphere of mystery. After preparing wooden surfaces with his own gesso formula, the artist relentlessly layers delicate brushstrokes atop one another until they coalesce into an orchestral range of earth, pastel, and jewel tones.
Norton’s paintings both evade and welcome description, or as Christopher Bedford put it in his 2009 review of Norton’s work for Frieze Magazine: “Created without as much as a nod to contemporary predilections, they picture nothing outside the various teleologies of painting. Neither abstract nor figurative, but rather vaguely evocative, Norton’s paintings confound critical engagement at first glance.” The cosmic, modestly sized works comfortably embody simultaneous, discordant understandings, choosing to exist within an ambiguous space between reality and nothingness.
LIQUEFIED :: Group ShowJune 25 - August 6, 2022LIQUEFIED surveys works from a group of 9 largely self-taught artists, many hailing from or currently living in Los Angeles. Coming from an array of diverse histories and practices, each artist uses their work to confront and upturn existing structures.