Todd Norsten | The Heart Of Everything That Is



MARCH 18 – MAY 7, 2016

Federica Schiavo Gallery is delighted to present the first solo show at the gallery by the American artist Todd Norsten.

There is a natural relationship between painting and writing. As a viewer, the tendency is to look at images as if reading a text, compiling signs that can be paired down to assemble meaning… It is this creative friendship between images and speech that informs the character of Todd Norsten’s most recent body of work in which the brevity and poignancy of images and utterances range from the bitterly critical to the supremely comical. His pictures depict thoughts that resemble thoughts themselves, uncertain, abstract, honest, and occasionally inappropriate. Yasmil Raymond, “The Beautiful Irreverence of Laughter,” Todd Norsten, (Seoul, 2007).

Todd Norsten’s practice begins with texts and images he founds during his travels: fragments of everyday life function as a visual diary and a subtle reflection, humorous and bitter at the same time, which explore the commercial culture and the daily reality of the Western society by using references and tackling inconvenient subjects, ranging over from pop culture to religion.

Norsten’s subtle and evocative paintings are filled with rudimentary marks, sloppy lettering, awkward cropping and sometimes dirty surfaces. Upon first glance they look careless or naive. Closer examination reveals an accurate research on the possibilities of language. Words and discrete images, whether they are handmade or mechanically produced, aim for a direct and simplified deposit of information with the singular purpose of re-contextualizing the texts in a completely different system of communication.

By employing a variety of painting techniques from the tribute to Minimal Art to trompe l’oeil, Todd Norsten makes clear his faith in the act of painting and choose to depict signs and objects which belong to popular culture, transforming them into minimal, earnest and humorous works that give character to things that are transitory or ephemeral.