Ian Norris starts the process of any painting by producing numerous drawings and small paintings from observation. Afterwards, Norris returns to the studio to paint larger works from memory, using the smaller studies as reference. He claims throughout this process, he is trying to express feelings of being present in a place, rather than only the visual aspects of a landscape. Therefore his painting are fused with emotive aspects that Norris renders into abstraction.
As an artist, Norris is interested in the physicality of paint itself. His larger paintings tend to be made of multiple layers of paint to create texture and layers. The progressive build-up of paint combined with the scraping back of whole or partial areas of the paint surface reveal a complex matrix of varying colour, texture and depth which is not unlike the landscape itself.
'I like to deal with material that is local and with which I am familiar, exploring the figure and the landscape as subjects. I usually work on the same motif over long periods'.
— Ian Norris
‘Ian relies on his own intuitive responses to the world around him, whether that response be to a landscape, a coastline, a cityscape or indeed recently, the interior of his studio. Whatever the subject, although perhaps stimulus would perhaps be more appropriate, the physical manifestation of the visual experience through the act of painting is, for Ian, the means of transmitting and sharing the same feeling and experience with the viewer. As a result, the contrast between the internalisation of a once private memory and the external public rendering of its emotional response is at the heart of Ian’s challenge and the honesty of its portrayal underscores his artistic integrity.
Ian’s methodology and processes further illuminate his own essential truths and it is this incumbent sense of a willingness and determination to embrace the experimental, and by immersion in this approach thereby potentially expose himself to the risk of non-fulfilment, which drives the vitality of his work. From the initial mark making onwards, Ian is an artist who categorically rejects the use of photography as a form of aide-memoire, preferring, or insisting would perhaps be more apt, to rely upon his own memory, instinct and drawings for reference points.
In seeking to convey this sense of remembered place, and in striving for fluidity and naturalness, Ian Norris submits both himself and his art to the severest of demands as the physical scraping back of the paint is both an emotional and painstaking undertaking. Such a preference for working from memory best demands its expression in the medium of oil paint, its malleable qualities proving resilient and pliable for the reworking of Ian’s vision. As such, Ian’s current artistic practice can be classified as organic given the intrinsic importance to him of the remodelling of remembered sensations and their expression in paint.’
— John Hadfield