JOHN HARLAN NORRIS
John Norris’ most recent works draw inspiration from the moments we all experience in which the roles we play in our daily lives come to define us in powerful ways. In the pursuit of prosperity, leisure, social status, and personal meaning, we often assume identities that both define and fail to define us. His work explores the possibilities and limitations of our daily occupations at a time in which we frequently change jobs, balance multiple roles, and cannot easily delineate between private and public life.
Traditionally, the painted portrait has sought to convey both the individual characteristics of the sitter and tell us something about their role in society. In particular, the genre of occupational portraiture has described its subjects through the lens of their working lives. The portraits in this body of work seek to reinterpret this genre by deemphasizing the sitters’ individual characteristics in order to create images of figures entirely consumed by their given occupations.
Norris is a painter and musician originally from Kentucky. Since graduating, Norris has taught drawing and design at Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Southern University. His work has been shown in Chicago and Houston as well as throughout Louisiana and Kentucky.
Currently, Norris is an Assistant Professor of Art at Arkansas State University.