(Australia 01 Jul 1953– )
204.0 x 82.0 x 19.0cm left, centre & right panels; 60.0 x 40.0 x 3cm panel d; 20.0 x 20.5 x 3.0cm panel e; 20.0 x 20.5 x 3.0cm panel f
This is an excellent example of Norrie's move from pure painting into work that combined painting and display methodologies in the early 1990s. Norrie's typically post-modern distrust of painterly skill - (including her own as she has exceptional technique) - and her somewhat critical exploration of the history of painting and art as a consumer product lead to her interest in creating hybrid works. These combined the form of display furniture, painting and crafted objects.
The proposed work is an early example of this shift in her practice. It consists of a thickly painted wall construction that is also a shelving unit for three small canvases. These embody the three types of painting Norrie was exploring at this time – the largest is an abstract panel, the next a more representational white powder puff form which was loosely inspired by the depiction of fabric and fripperies in 18th century French painting, and the last an almost schematic portrait of 'a whistling Joe'. The later was an early 20th century automated doll which whistled when wound-up. It is also a colloquial metaphor for wasting time, a common anxiety about art practice particularly when artists are commercially unsuccessful.
Norrie considers this work to have a memorial or commemorative function, one which has personal references to death and transition, however it also refers to the much touted 'death of painting' in the 1980s when some theorists thought painting an exhausted and invalid art form. Norrie's own engagement with contemporary critical debates and her conflicted desire to paint and explore this history are embodied in works such as 'Ensemble' 1990.
Charles Green (United Kingdom, b.1840, d.1898) (Author), Peripheral vision: Contemporary Australian art 1970-94, Drummoyne, 1995, 90.
Julian Perfanis (Australia) (Author), Temporal frames, Sydney, 1990, (colour illus., detail).
Temporal frames, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 04 Aug 1990–01 Sep 1990.