The general concept that underpins Norton’s work is the notion of meaning and how we construct it, and how this fascinating production in turn, defines, supports and constrains us, in our daily existence.
By taking the discarded or the lesser valued, in this instance the humble plastic shopping bag, Norton seeks to create pieces that engage the viewer, to draw attention to existing knowledge, whilst at the same time being aware of new ways of looking and understanding, to liberate a degree of free association in the conscious of the viewer.
Roland Barthes described plastic as “abolishing the hierarchy of substances. A single one replaces them all, the whole world can be plasticized…” Norton finds these words conceptually vivid; transforming the discarded into the desired.
Norton’s making practice spans 20 years and was further supported by undertaking a BVA at Auckland University in the early 2000s. She lives in central Auckland.
‘The notion of meaning and how we construct it is the foundation of my work. This is a fascinating process, where often to cushion ourselves from the absurdity of human existence we construct cultural narratives around objects and ways of being that both define, support and constrain us.
The little thought about floral sprays adorning humans like fancy packaging. A nod to Otto Kunzli's wall paper brooches, one to Edouard Manet's small paintings of floral bouquets, another to fancy chocolate box packaging. Pimping the package, plastic, the great imitator, still levelling and flattening the hierarchies of value.’
Signum from the Latin for sign. Centuries ago a signet ring was a signature, likened to a finger print, and destroyed on the death of its owner. Technology has rendered this function redundant, but the signet ring remains a symbol to the world, showcasing one’s position and status.
Tag – a small hanging piece from a garment, a label. To tag – sign, name.
The colour palette for this series (all bar two) is taken from Picasso’s 1932 “year of wonder” paintings. The palette for letters ‘L’ and ‘R’ is from Venice 2, a painting by psychotherapist and artist Christopher Bollas.