VISUAL ARTRyan Sparks

Painter John Harlan Norris at the Thea Foundation

VISUAL ARTRyan Sparks

This month painter John Harlan Norris will have a solo show up at the Thea Foundation of Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the art-education non-profit's Art Department program. The Art Department is a quarterly highlight of young artists aimed towards young professionals. One of the goals is to establish a new class of art enthusiasts and collectors in central Arkansas.

Southern Glossary profiled Norris in our "Perception & Identity" issue earlier this year:

Norris’ work is a contemporary take on the occupational portrait, a type of image used for centuries in painting and photography that displays an individual wearing clothing associated with and holding the tools of his trade. They can present anonymous stereotypes or strategically identify an individual with his job. Americans, with our preoccupation with our work selves and status, have fully embraced this kind of portraiture in various forms through history, especially in the early days of photography. The better we are at our jobs, the better we are as people.

In Norris’ paintings, though, the tools of the trade become more than signifiers, and the figures are concealed underneath the symbols and tools. The result is a portrait that leaves us with nothing to recognize the individual by.

Read the full feature

The solo show starts today. Get details about the opening reception on August 8th at the Thea Foundation here.