Jenn E Norton is an artist working with interdisciplinary media including stereoscopic interactive video, installation, sound and kinetic sculpture, working intimately with technology in a DIY capacity, marrying intuitive and formal processes. Compositions of disjunctive imagery bound together in post-production render familiar landscapes, objects and activities, strange to open new dialogues, reframing longstanding expectations. Often performative, the work exists within liminal states where oppositions intersect. This is apparent in Norton’s use of burgeoning and antiquated technologies, the vernacular of the sublime and the banal, formal and intuitive processes, the employment of both fictive and documentary approaches to time based media. These contradictory forces relegate to a place where comedy and tragedy kiss.
Recent works employ a performative conceit to address the metaphoric territory of the concept drawing, or architectural rendering. Stemming from a body of work created for a solo show at Toronto’s Trinity Square Video in 2012 entitled, NO PLACE, landscapes were altered with the addition of imagined architecture, environmental design and municipal infrastructures. The thread of this interest continues in recent and current works, including ‘Site Lines’, commissioned by The Musagetes Foundation (Guelph). This series featured architectural renderings of imagined spaces, that at first glance appear utopian, but are in fact expressing an infrastructural desire, or lack, felt in our lived spaces. These works evoke notions of nostalgia, melancholy and are yet posited as optimistic gestures.
Norton’s practice has primarily focused on installation within the past few years, creating multi media, spatial, experiences with projections. ‘Jenn E Norton: Dredging a Wake’, a solo show at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (2014) presented our relationship to archival technologies are as a natural phenomena, such as sink holes, black holes, cyclones and doldrums. Deliberately open ended and without assigned moralistic value, the exhibition looks at an archive and its maintenance as mutable portrait, on societal, institutional and individual scales. Norton mediates perception by various means, such as stereoscopy in reflected video projections, projections mapped on immersive spaces, kinetic interactions with architectural spaces, with a shifting sensorial attention within the exhibition.
Norton recently completed a residency at the River Run Centre (Guelph), and has recently returned from The Canada Council for the Arts International Residency Program at La cité internationale des Arts, Paris, France. As Norton’s studio process informs her practice conceptually, residencies have played a major role in her career. These residencies include the Art Gallery of Hamilton and McMaster University, which lead to a six month solo exhibition in of 2014 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, CAFKA in partnership with Christie Digital’s HIVE, commissioned Norton to create a stereoscopic interactive immersive environment at the Communitech HUB (Kitchener/Waterloo), The Ted Harrison Artist Retreat Society (Yukon Territory), The Toronto Animated Image Society and Trinity Square Video (Toronto). Norton has shown at the National Gallery, The Art Gallery of Ontario, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rooftop Films (Brooklyn, NY), The Canadian Film Centre’s World Wide Short Film Festival, The Yukon Arts Centre, The Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque, and in touring shows presented by ISIS (UK) and Daichi Projects (Japan). She has won numerous grants, awards and scholarships, including the OCAD Integrated Media Medal for excellence in an interdisciplinary practice. 2015 brings Norton’s video based works to The Gardiner Museum (Toronto), Centre BANG! (Chicoutimi, Québec), and to Trinity Square Video (Toronto).