Terry Norton-Wright is a writer and multi-media artist based in Los Angeles. Her ability to integrate her work and personal life enables Norton-Wright to establish an intimacy with the viewer. Norton-Wright works in a wide range of mediums, combining text, image, performance, conceptual installations and books. With an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design, she has published two books and exhibited her work both in the United States and abroad. Her projects explore themes of control, freedom, gender, intimacy, and distance in human relationships.
STATE OF THE UNION, 2014, is an Artist's Book and the result of a two-year project spurred by the author’s divorce. The book contains essays, blog posts, and photos of the work that resulted when the author asked 16 artists to interpret her final divorce agreement. The themes explored by the artists include control, freedom, and gender.
When art becomes work/When sex becomes work, 2012, is an Artist's Book that comments in form and content on the legalization of prostitution in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the subsequent "Art Stay" program that closed Red Light District brothels and converted them into artist ateliers resulting in the prostitution of the artist in the name of urban renewal. Based on the reverse attached book When sex becomes work, the word “art” was substituted for the word “sex” throughout the text calling the readers attention to the substitution of one type of worker for another. With this change, the entire book changes in purpose. What was previously a manual for the sex worker, now functions as a manual for the artist similarly to the way the brothel window functions as a new space.
Art & Exhibitions
Terry Norton-Wright is an American artist who’s own existence plays an important role in her works. Exploring psychological and emotional terrain Norton-Wright probes ideas of control, freedom, gender, intimacy, and distance in human relationships.
As a storyteller, Norton-Wright reveals intimate details from her life with brutal honesty and humor. Her ability to integrate her work and personal life enables Norton-Wright to establish an intimacy with the viewer.
Norton-Wright works in a wide range of mediums, combining text, image, performance, and conceptual installations. Her works are distinguished by the directness of her formal approach, her narrative skill, and the conceptual enrichment they undergo over the course of their creation.
“En Wonder,” Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA (2011)
“Down the Rabbit-Hole”
As an 11-year-old child I can remember lying on my stomach on my sunlit bed and looking at the golden hairs on my arm. It seemed to me like I was looking at my arm, really looking, for the very first time. I am sure I had seen my arm before, but only in the peripheral vision sort of way, when it passes around the perimeters of your line of site and is really just there as marker, an extension to propel your hand to perform a task. But on this day I stared at it, intently. I noticed the invisible blonde hairs all along its pale skin and how they reflected the sunlight. I noticed how it seamlessly connected to my hand. I noticed a couple of dark spots on the surface of the skin, “beauty marks”, my mother called them, “age spots” was my grandmother’s word for them. I can remember thinking that I was going to stare at my arm, memorize it, and then watch it all of the time so that I could catch the moments when it would change, become older. I also remember thinking that I could not imagine ever not being able to look at my arm. I couldn’t imagine ever looking down and not seeing it, exactly as it was now. It was at that moment that I realized that aging was a way of slowly dying and that I was going to die.
I don’t want to die…ever. The conundrum between the body, nature and one’s mortality is something we all face as we age. Our experience of it ranges from an 11-year-old’s desire and eagerness to go through puberty, to the inevitable joint pain in the morning and the visible record of thousands of smiles and frowns one carries around on their face. It is the fear I have about never getting to do all that I want to do in life because I may run out of time. I want to have as many experiences as I can while I am here, which is why when presented with an adventure I always jump down the rabbit-hole, usually without much thought as to where it will lead me or if I can ever get back.
I have spent my life exploring what it means to live in one’s body. My early careers were spent in dressing the body, advertising the body, acting with the body, producing films of bodies, and representing physical bodies. I have also examined bodies, touched bodies, held bodies, hit bodies, had sex with bodies and created bodies. However, it is the mark the body makes that interests me most, whether that mark is a conscious or unconscious gesture, or the traces and evidence it leaves behind. The marks that prove “I am here” “I was here”, specifically drawings, photos, objects, and performance, documentation of an existence and expression of a form.