Acrylic on canvas
51 x 31 1/2 inches
James Norman studied at the Art Student's League in New York with Theodoros Stamos, and was involved in the cooperative Westerly Gallery from 1962-66, founded by a group of Stamos's students (including Robert Barry and Sydney Ball). Norman also exhibited at Reese Palley Gallery (one of the earliest SoHo galleries), and this painting has a Palley Gallery label on the stretcher.
Norman, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, has lived in Tennessee, Virginia, Indiana and Long Island, New York. By 1964 he was a resident of New York City. Educated mainly in the South, he was an architectural assistant for two years while studying mechanical design and architecture. After serving two years in the U.S. Navy, he studied commercial art which brought him into contact with the fine arts. He developed a serious interest in painting which he preferred to study and work at independently.
While living on Long Island, in 1961, Mr. Norman participated in an exhibition at the Hecksher Museum in Huntington. He received the Purchase Prize and an opportunity to exhibit, in a six-man-show, a selection of his work.
Although tending to be reluctant about the pursuit of exhibiting, and claiming a strong independence from current trends or popular values, Mr. Norman in his work was highly relevant to, and part of, the contemporary art world. Acknowledging a classic tradition, Mr. Norman stated:
".....my strongest influences come from Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian and their followers, in their pursuit of determined esthetics. In the work shown at Westerly, the circle and the square, painted both separately and together, dominate my interest. Through symmetrical composition and geometrical color relationships, the tension created by this use of these forms destroys the static (or absence of time). This movement is controlled and becomes contemplative. My approach is intuitional rather than systematical."