The Private World of a Fold: Rebecca Norton

Perception’s structural characteristic, Maurice Merleau-Ponty tells us, is spontaneous organization combined with the history of processes that condition perception. Indeterminancy and the gestalt of perceptual experience—which involves sensing over knowing— grounds an encounter of the lived body with its surrounding (the body within the “phenomenal field”). Knowledge confounds these moments, placing false faith in thinking it has access to “the real world” by projecting an invariant “in itself” to the world which it can know through science and reflection. This attempt to resolve the indeterminate features of perceptual experience reduces perception to a a series of “confused appearances.” It is in these confused appearances that we gain access to the worlds of others, and leave our own. We are guilty of reducing indeterminacy, and symbolically defining encounters, into determinate truths so that we may share an experience. With this, the private lives of others are taken as our own, but at the cost of an ability to immerse being in its participation within the phenomenal field which, as a result of empiricism, has now taken greater strides away from the ability to access the depth of personal experiences.We impose an organization onto the world, seeing the world through the projection of properties that support our perspective of it. To return to the phenomenal field I must reflect upon a body active within it. This work is meant to communicate relationships of a figure and ground that does just that. In my work the body is gendered, I present a feminine body exploring the landscape and shaping it in terms of how it thinks through, and in and within, landscapes. She is the spatial template that has been directing my practice, and it is in terms of this figure in a field that a geometrization of sensations, and the inner and outer constructions of spatial relationships, have been considered in visual works of art. This form ungrounds the classic model by which a body defines the field. That I see vertically makes the field I experience vertical. But she has no up, forward, or specifically determined direction of motion. Rather, her specific object emerges from the intersection of a generic, indeterminate trajectory of transformations and it’s encounters with particular environments.

Making the work involved doubting what is up, frontal, right and left in the piece being displayed, and what could be the materials that best articulate a feminine form in this phenomenological situation. My compulsive engagement with what originated in a preparatory paper fold is itself questionable—am I describing some thing, or am I waiting for it to describe itself to me? Has our relationship come to life in a meaningful way, worth sharing with others? And can this sincerely produced, artificial artifact actually open the space of experience whereby another may, if only briefly, experience, if intended, the gestalt of perceptual experience?

Rebecca Norton // November 9th, 2018 - January 5th, 2018 // gallery hours: Saturday 10-1

opening reception: November 9th, 2018, 6-10p