This week we welcome Norma Markley. Markley is a visual artist living in Queens and working in Brooklyn. Throughout her career, Markley has felicitously chosen her media (painting, cut paper, sewing, neon), photography most recently, to recombine various “apple pie” images of Americana. She received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her master’s degree in fine arts from Columbia University. Her cut paper collages, drawings in thread, and neon work have been exhibited in international venues and in the United States. Her most recent solo show was “paved X and leisurely looping Z,” Y Gallery (2016). Her first solo show, “Highway X,” was at Shores Space in the heart of the Red Light District in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2000). She has participated in many group exhibitions, most recently in “Up Against A Wall” at Awbury Arboretum in Philadelphia (2021), the online exhibit ‘END” at Empirical Nonsense (NYC, Feb. 3, 2021), and “Notions of Exile” Washington Project for the Arts (2021). Her favorite group exhibition was “Next Next: Art” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (2002).
Markley received a NYFA award in Drawing (2003). Her residencies include St. Mary’s On The Lake (Lake George, NY, 2018, 2022); Fundacion Valparaiso Residency (Spain, 2006); and Edward A. Albee Visual Arts Residency (1992). Reviews of her work have appeared in the Washington Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.
“I make small paintings on paper using acrylic, gouache, and watercolor. I gather images from online fashion articles and only paint males. These are starting points that serve as a conduit to explore color, paint strokes, and imagination. Over the years, I have observed how race and ethnicity have evolved in the employment of male fashion models in fashion campaigns. I used to collect these images and exclusively translate them into thread and still do.
That practice has led to painting. In both the paintings and thread drawings, the male models appear as solitary figures. I’m currently exploring the inclusion of bits of other collected images and elements that are architecture or landscape as I build an image that interests me.
I also work from photos that I have taken either surreptitiously or with permission of ‘a certain look’ observed on the subway platform and elsewhere such as museums, art fairs, and on the street. I consider it a challenge to work small to build a picture and prefer lots of empty space that I think of as air or positivity.”
See more of Markley’s work on her website and Instagram page.