C. Michael Norton. When Paintings Awake

14 Apr 2017 – 7 May 2017

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DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary is proud to present When Paintings Awake, a solo exhibition of new works by C. Michael Norton.


In our Project Room, as we continue to explore and champion the intergenerational relationships between artists, we will feature the works of emergent painter Rosalind Tallmadge. The mature master works of Norton and subversive beauty of Tallmadge’s paintings share a celebration of the traditions of great abstract painting, while extending and reinventing that language by bending formal aspects of painting to their own personal and authentic narratives; making work that speaks to this moment in time and all their own.

Norton’s immense scale, on first glance, recall the great painters of the 1950’s—Pollock, Still, Dekooning and Rothko—with a further facile read, a more contemporary master, Richter. On closer inspection, there is something more personal and deeply moving in these works. While the aforementioned affinities are obvious, there is contained and mediated anger and violence in these paintings; anger deflected by the use of a more playful or pop palette, which also helps create a deeply personal narrative for Norton himself. These beautiful works actualize Albert Ellis’s theory of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy — a state of mind where one owns their impulses by stating them and distancing themselves from them simultaneously, allowing one to own and create a more mindful existence. It is with this duality and ownership of impulse that Norton carves out a deeply moving and singular place in the history of painting.

Art critic Raphael Rubinstein, talks about Norton’s work in his catalogue: “For all his libertine embrace of paint in its most physical and retinal manifestations, for all his continuous—and deeply pleasurable—onslaughts of color, Norton also acknowledges the share of the invisible. Amid these crashing chords of color and glissandos of dragged gestures, there are virtual images that only as a whisper, fugitive as the circumstances of a dream that dissolve the moment we wake up.”

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C. Michael Norton


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