Dorothy Departs, 2004
gouache on paper
signed, titled and dated Dorothy Departs, Susan Norrie, 2004 (on reverse)
Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York
Private collection, Melbourne
'Dorothy Departs' (2005) is an intimate black and white gouache painting from Susan Norrie's 'Dorothy Series' inspired by the classic 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Although Norrie is now well known for her mutli-media practice, she originally trained as a painter at the National Art School, Sydney and the National Gallery School, Melbourne. The artist's signature practice produces a tension between surface appearance and what lies beneath; beauty and terror, hope and disaster, serenity and unease. 'The Wizard of Oz' is a film of such contradictions - a children's fantasy with darker undertones.
In 'Dorothy Departs', Norrie paints a film still of the young girl crossing a footbridge after she has run away from home. Norrie renders this scene in small, quick brushstrokes and a monochromatic palette of greys that charge the work with a wistful melancholy.
Susan Norrie's preoccupation with politics and the environment have
always informed the subject matter of her work. From the feminist overtones of
her earlier series 'Lavished Living', (1983-1984) and 'Objet D'Art' (1988), to
her comments on consumerism found in her series 'Tall Tales and True'
(1986-1987) and 'Peripherique' (1989), or to the more recent video works
'Undertow' (2002) and the geologically and politically volatile view of
Indonesia documented in 'Havoc', seen at the 2007 Venice Biennale, Norrie’s
diverse oeuvre is challenging and, at times, polemical in its honest
deconstruction of modern society.
After studying painting at the National Art School, Sydney and the National
Gallery School, Melbourne in the 1970s, Norrie began creating films and
installation pieces in the mid-1990s; works that blur the line between art and documentary.
The beauty of Norrie’s works – whether it be painting, drawing, installation or
video – is Norrie's control of media and materiality. The tactile quality of
her surfaces are often a contradictory experience to the harsh reality of the
stories she tells.
From the moment Norrie began exhibiting in 1982, her work has been
highly regarded for being both conceptually and materially advanced. In 1987, she
won the first Moet & Chandon prize for an artist under 35, which became a
pivotal point in her career. Since then, she has held residencies at Greene
Street Studio, New York, and in New Zealand and Germany. She received the 1997
Seppelt Prize, Contemporary Art Award, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. In
1999 she received an Australia Council Fellowship, and in 2004 she received an
APA Scholarship for PhD Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Norrie’s work has been exhibited in many international and national
surveys of contemporary art. She represented Australia at the 2007 Venice
Biennale, and has been in important group shows including the Montreal Biennale (2015); the Biennale of Sydney (2014, 2004); the Yokohama Triennale (2011); In the Balance: Art for a Changing World,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2010); and Figuring Landscapes, Tate Modern, London (2008). Norrie's work has been written on extensively and is held in all state and most regional gallery
collections of Australia, as well as in the Auckland City Art Gallery and the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.