Sarah Norsworthy - Fuse of Nature


Sarah Norsworthy - Fuse of Nature

Tell us about your process; is there one particular “story of creation” you'd like share?

My process of starting a new painting is one that usually involves exploration on foot or on my bike.  In Seattle there are places that I have gone to repeatedly for many years to explore, draw, paint, and find materials to bring back to the studio. They are places of reflection and although they are very familiar to me at this point they are places that are in constant flux, just as I am.

Discovery Park in Seattle is one place that I have often escaped to in Seattle.  In the piece Palace Pelagic (picture below) I created an installation embedded with my experience of walking the trails and exploring the beach.  I made small paintings on the beach over the course of the spring and summer, focusing on my relationship to the horizon as well as a large barnacle encrusted rock near the shore that was revealed only at low tide. In this piece I was interested in mapping the horizon, the movement of the sun over the course of the day, cycles of the moon, tide patterns, and the experience of being there over time. I began building a curved structure to reflect the curvature of my field of vision. I have been exploring the relationship between constructed space and painted space, between the body and architecture, and the nature of how we construct and interact with space and with materials. I continued the curved structure, spiraling it inward like a shell. The ways in which Gaston Bachelard speaks of the spiral form in his Poetics of Space resonates with my contemplation of this form. In his chapter on the dialectics of outside and inside he states

"Thus, the spiraled being who, from outside, appears to be a well-invested center, will never reach his center.  The being of man is an unsettled being which all expression unsettles. In the reign of the imagination, an expression is hardly proposed,  before being needs another expression, before it must be the being of another expression." (Poetics of Space, p. 215)

As the piece spirals inward there is a transition from the paintings of the horizon from the beach, to paintings of materials and objects that I collected there.  It made sense to me that the protected interior space would feel packed with paint and materiality.  I also incorporated bricks that I made and then carved native plants of the area in relief on the surface as another layer of texture and reference to the beach where I often would find fragments of brick, smoothed down be the ocean.

How do you hope your art will affect your audience?

I hoped that people would enter into this piece and connect with it-- possibly through their own personal experiences of the place or of places like it.  When I am looking at art and I connect with it, there is a spark of recognition and excitement as I enter into the thought process of the artist.  I hope that this sometimes happens when others connect with my work. I think painting has the ability to convey the accumulation of experience in a mysterious way, and I hope that my work expresses something about my experience while leaving an opening for someone else to enter in.