Y Gallery is pleased to present “Half-Wet,” a room of eclectic works by American artist Norma Markley. She will be presenting works on paper, embroidered towels, neon, and winkies. The underlay of humor and menace is meant to invite audience identification and involvement.
Norma Markley’s “oddball collection of salacious social tidbits—from sexualized motel towels to giddy neon exhortations—combined with throwaway pop cultural allusions, manages to invoke a delightfully disorienting fog of trashy Americana,” writes Calvin Reid. Her seed is literary and her visual manifestations begin as a nucleus of color, form, and imagistic elements, and grow peripherally. The ready material already strikes a personal chord. If it is not quite sexually suggestive, she takes it there.
The colorful, cut paper collages involve delicate and meticulously detailed handiwork referencing motels and “idiot cartoon voices.” Dreamy glowing neon appears—“half-wet, 3 bananas, Heeeheeeheeehehehehe…, clouds.” Couples in flagrante delicto are captured in small thread drawings, peered at by a collection of blinking comic book eyes. “Some said she was crazy,” a line from a Charles Bukowski story inspired the wall installation of two hundred or so cut paper synonyms, paired with neon. Markley said, “Most people would rather be crazy than normal. I am the only normal person I know.”
Norma Markley was included in the Queens International 2006, Queens Museum, Art on Paper Weatherspoon Art Museum 2006, and NextNext:Art at the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2002. She is the recipient of a 2003 NYFA New York Foundation for the Arts award in Drawing and a 2008 Queens Council on the Arts Artist Initiative Grant. She lives and works in New York.