New Earths

20 April – 17 May 2017

Gallerysmith, Melbourne

As a dyslexic kid I learnt to read from my collection of comic books aided and abetted by billboards viewed from the back seat of my parents’ car. With both these visual aids the early clues to the meaning of words were revealed to me by first ‘reading’ the image and then attaching that meaning to the shape of the letters nearby. This interest in the relationship of the meaning of things to the imagery of them possibly made me into the type of artist I have become. Much of the source material for my works comes from signposts, book covers, film posters and postcards, the visual ephemera of the everyday.

In the works in this exhibition, the starting point is often a dog-eared postcard or perhaps a cheaply printed brochure, from the time of low grade mass produced dot matrix colour printing. They have been scanned with all their flaws intact, the scratches, printing faults, creases and stains they picked up during the few decades of their existence. These are fully revealed in the massive enlargement of scale as they are converted to large unique canvas prints, and stretched onto frames. I have then painted into them new elements that have altered their old meaning. This has taken the form of new objects painted over the top of the old or by altering the background of the original image in some way. These new sections have been painted in with slick, rich vinyl pigments and juicy pop colours. 

Viewed up close this has created a slight visual fracture between the different methods of production and the different elements of the work. This border along the line of connection between the two parts of the image is an area of importance when creating the works and the key to creating them. If the works are viewed from a greater distance, both the old and new parts optically combine to reveal their alternative esoteric meaning alluded to by their titles. These hint at a contemporary science fictional meaning different from the original generic postcard.These works are an attempt to fix in time that moment, or ‘snap’, of comprehension when the brain begins to see the new meaning of a previously recognised image. They are the visual equivalent of the science fiction term ‘cognitive dissonance’, or ‘slipstream’ in the parlance of Cyberpunk movement.

Adam Norton

Valles Marineris
synthetic polymer paint and pigment print on canvas
166 × 122 cm

Night and Day
synthetic polymer paint & pigment print on canvas
137 × 91 cm

Ultra Violet
pigment ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
174 × 120 cm