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John Harlan Norris: Mirror Makers

September 8, 2023 @ 9:00 am - October 15, 2023 @ 4:30 pm

Narrator by John Harlan Norris. Painting of cloth head with glasses, zipper.

Reception Friday, September 8, 5–7 p.m.  

Barnes Ogden Art & Design Complex Gallery 

31 South Campus Drive, Room 1010 

Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 

The paintings in Mirror Makers ask how we create at a time when new technologies are forcing us to reexamine the nature of intelligence, originality, and the creative act itself. The exhibition features two bodies of John Harlan Norris’ recent work. Paintings from the “Interpolators” (2018–2021) series explore presentation of a public persona through object portraiture. While “Interpolators” is representative of Norris’ style in terms of method and subject, the “Onlookers” (2021–2023) series represents a departure based in a collaboration with machine learning.  

Norris created a dataset of all his images from his own creative practice—the “Interpolators” series and others, plus images of ephemera and influences in his studio. When provided a massive dataset, machine learning can produce convincing images. Norris’s small, curated dataset, however, produced inconsistent, low-resolution murky images that were both confounding and familiar. The Onlookers series emerged from these images. The re-introduction of human touch, scrutiny, and materiality led to this collaborative body of paintings, which are a form of uncanny self-portraiture.


Image (courtesy of Norris):

oil, acrylic and sand on canvas
30 x 42”


September 8, 2023 @ 9:00 am
October 15, 2023 @ 4:30 pm
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