Friday, April 11, 2008

Irving Norman

" Irving Norman's (1906–1989) highly detailed paintings are powerful critiques of contemporary life and times painted in the hope of promoting change. Norman believed that by pointing out the inequities, horrors, and foibles of human behavior he might somehow cause people to consider the consequences of their actions. He intended his canvases as public art, so he shunned private patronage and commercial viability. Instead, he wanted his work in public institutions, particularly museums, where “all people could come and study them and contemplate."

Norman saw everything in human terms. His paintings are monumental in scale, yet they teem with detail and are populated by swarming, clone-like figures. These figures are constricted by small urban spaces, caught in the crunch of the urban rush hour, and decimated by the pain of poverty and the horror of war. These themes manifest Norman’s perceptions of modern life and the society in which he lived, but this is relieved by the artist’s jewel-like color harmonies and sharp wit. Once the spectator is engaged, Norman’s unsettling visions cannot be ignored—or forgotten." - quote source from the official Irving Norman website with more works on display.

It could be coincidence but I think Norman's depiction of soldiers as anvil like inhuman creatures inspired Gerard Scarfe's hammer soldiers in Pink Floyd's The Wall.

And unrelated to Irving Norman, the hauntingly painted faces of the mob near the end of this clip from one of my favorite films from the seventies "The Day Of The Locust" is probably another influence on The Wall's imagery. Just a warning, this can be very disturbing for some people... see it here. And an amusing bit of trivia, Donald Sutherland's character in this is named Homer Simpson.


Anonymous said...

WOW!, thanks Aeron, I did not know of him, I will get the book!
Paul Rumsey

Anonymous said...

I like your blog, really. Come to see my site and my drawnings, if you want.

SEAN said...


Aeron said...

Paul, I'm sure the book will be well worth it!

Guillaume, great art on your site.

Sean, wow is right!