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Work Samples

Renaissance, They

Skeleton art, Kate Norris art, mixed media collage, collage art, non-binary
Inspired from a vintage illustration, this side view of an over-sized skeleton is made from torn toile wallpaper reconfigured and sealed. One of three Renaissance figures/skeletons; "Renaissance Man, He" was the first in the series. "He" faces backwards. "Renaissance Woman, She" was created next, a female and facing forward (a forward thinker), and picture here is "Renaissance, They" a side view, not looking forward or back but straddling both worlds, a non-binary figure. Mixed Media Collage, 72" x 48"

detail, Renaissance, They

Skeleton art, katenorrisart, mixedmediacollage, collageart
Detail image of "Renaissance, They," showing the back of the neck, top of the shoulders and upper spine. Visible here is the Jones gravestone. Each of the three Renaissance pieces have the gravestone embedded in their head or neck, consequently, the series is also known as, "The Jones Family." 72" x 48", Mixed Media Collage.

The Pupils

eye art, Kate Norris Art, mixed media collage, collage art
"The Pupils," 36" x 48" is a mixed media collage.

Ursula

Octopus art, octopus, mixed media collage, kate norris art
"Ursula," 60" x 48" mixed media collage.

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About Kate

Baltimore City

Kate Norris's picture
Kate Norris is a teaching artist from Baltimore, MD. Her current body of work gives homage to naturalists and illustrators from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Norris’ mixed media collages are made from tearing vintage wallpaper and reconstructing the pieces in a new way, giving new meaning with a modern sensibility. Her collages open up conversations about process, techniques, and symbolic associations.   Norris graduated with a BA from Stanford University and earned her MFA at the... more

Renaissance Series

The Renaissance series is a grouping of three collages depicting a family of skeletons, The Jones family. Each mixed media collage is six feet tall by four feet wide and all are made from sepia colored Schumacher wallpaper. The process includes hand ripping the toile wallpaper, reconfiguring the torn pieces into the various skeleton poses and then sealing and varnishing the artwork. Each piece is inspired by a vintage illustration from Christoph Jacob Trew, a German doctor and botanist from the 18th century. The first piece completed of the three skeletons was Renaissance Man: He. He faces backwards and alludes to the notion of men looking in the past. Renaissance Woman: She was created next, a female and facing forward. She is forward thinking. And thirdly, Renaissance: They. They is positioned in a side view, not looking forward or back but, straddling both worlds, a non-binary figure. Although skeletons can symbolize death, each artwork upon close inspection is full of life with illustrations of floral and fauna throughout. The pieces are representative of biology and evolution, honoring both ancestry and contemporary society.

  • Renaissance Man: He

    72" x 48", mixed media collage.
  • detail, Renaissance Man: He

    Close up image of left shoulder of Renaissance Man: He.
  • Tennessee Tech Installation

    Skeleton art, katenorrisart, mixedmediacollage, collageart, Teenesse Tech Uinversity
    Exhibition August 2019 at the Applaciation Center for Craft, Tennessee Tech University. Call for art, "Contemporary craft, pushing craft outside the boundaries of traditional making."
  • Renaissance Woman: She

    72" x 48" mixed media collage. "She" faces forward, thinking about the future.
  • detail, Renaissance Woman: She

    Pelvis of "Renaissance Woman: She." "RW: She" is more sensuous than Renaissance Man: He. This shot illustrates the fullnes of a female figure/bone structure with floral and fauna growing abundanctly from the urn and surrounding areas.
  • detail, Renaissance Woman: She

    Close up image of upper chest and spine of :Renaissance Woman: She."
  • Renaissance: They

    Skeleton art, katenorrisart, mixedmediacollage, collageart
    "Renaissance, They,” a side view, not looking forward or back but, straddling straddling the past and the future. A non-biary figure. Mixed Media Collage, 72" x 48"
  • detail, Renaissance, They

    Close up view of Renaissance: They.
  • Sepia Toile Wallpaper

    wallpaper, kate norris art, wallpaper art, skeleton art
    Image of wallpaper prior to tearing up to make artwork. This particular Schumacher wallpaper has a 63" repeat.
  • Studio shot RM

    Skeleton art, katenorrisart, mixedmediacollage, collageart
    Studio shot of artwork laying flat while drying from the polymer sealer.

The Pupils

"The Pupils," 36" x 48" is a mixed media collage made from nine wallpapers. Each eye is made from one individual roll of scenic wallpaper, except the yellow eye in the top left corner which is made from two distinct papers. All eyes are unique in their expression and offer worlds of their own when view closely. The title references two meanings, a class of students and the anatomical word for the center of the iris.

Reign

Reign, a bald eagle mixed media collage reaches 48 inches in height and 30 inches in width. He is made of a black and ivory toile wallpaper that combines hundreds of unique images, including people, animals, foliage, trees, roosters, wagons and carts. Reign can be viewd as a world in and of himself. Although bald eagles are now off the endangered species list, Reign is part of an ongoing series I am working on about endangered and extinct species. I see the bald eagle as a sign of hope for the future of our planet, where we have made enroads to protect what we hold symbolic, rare, and magestic.

  • Reign.jpeg

    48" x 30" mixed media collage.
  • detail, Reign

    Close up image of the eagles beak, showing sheep, a horses hoof, foliage and trees making up the head structure.
  • detail.Reign

    Detail image showing talon and log on which the eagle is perched.
  • detail.Reign

    Detail image of eagle's breast and wing meeting.

Putti

Putti is a mixed media collage created by ripping scenic wallpaper and reconfigured the pieces into a butterfly inspired from a vintage scientific illustration. Images included in the overall design include four cherubs, one located in each corner of the butterfly's wing. The center image is of a young woman, whom watches over her charges. Putti, an Italian word, is plural for Putto, meaning a cherub or cupid in Renaissance art. This particular piece was made from repurposing a discontinued wallpaper border measuring 13.5" in height. The golden red painted border around the butterfly is symbolic of the palette from Renaissance art and symbolizes a past time and sensibility. And yet, the piece exhibits a modern sensibility through the process of repurposing something old, the wallpaper, and creating something new, the artwork .

Ursula

"An octopus symbolizes complexity, diversity, mystery, vision, intelligence, illusion, variability and insight". And let's face it, they are cool. Ursula, a mixed media collage was inspired by a vintage illustration I discovered while researching endangered species. Ursula as a project is about the process. I wanted to use a wallpaper that did not have any images of people, farm animals, landscapes, etc. I sourced a navy and cream floral wallpaper to create this piece. The repetition of shape and form and the value change within the wallpaper pieces are integral to the success of creating Ursula.

Flight Crew

Flight Crew is a grouping of nine small mixed media collages, each piece measuring 5 inches by 7 inches. “Members” of the Flight Crew are all winged insects. This series was inspired by the miniature patterned pinkish/red wallpaper making up the wings of each insect. I believe this paper had been sold primarily for walls in dollhouses because the patterns are so very small. As one looks closer to the details in the work you may see a group of women chatting, a pair of birds flying and perhaps a cherub hovering around an insect. I also explored using two or more different papers in these artworks, using black and a dark rose color to give the insects and the pieces a visual weight.

Razor

The boar is a sign of abundance, courage, and power. Razor, measuring 36 x 48 inches is a powerful form. He has an abundance of images creating a multitude of stories within his anatomy. As viewers get closer to inspect the details within the boar’s body, associations arise within the viewers’ minds. One may see a flute player at the tip of the snout or a group of wine crushers in the middle of his belly. Razor is made primarily from a black and white toile wallpaper, the strong black lines, (a second wallpaper), form the contours of Razor add not only visual weight to the piece but, also move the viewers eye through and around the body.

Free Range

Free Range, 48 x 30 inches is made with a chinoiserie rather than toile wallpaper.
The Asian theme of this paper adds an exotic nature to the rooster who stands upright on his turf. Pictured within his body and near where his neck meets the wing, one can see people standing in a small pagoda. The plumage of his tail is made from the foliage of trees. In contrast to the exotic, is the fact the rooster will inevitably go to slaughter; on the right ankle above the talons, the number 34 is strapped to his leg, indicating that even though he has the freedom to roam around the yard, he is still tagged for commercial purposes.

Batgirl

In spring 2019, amidst the Me Too movement, I was solicited to create a piece for an exhibition entitled Superheroes, shown at Y-Art Gallery in Baltimore. Measuring 15” x 30”, Batgirl was created with female empowerment in mind. For inspiration, I chose a vintage illustration of a female bat and used a wallpaper that incorporated women, mothers, and small girls. Alluding to a female sensibility, the surrounding painted border transitions from a soft lavender around the top, down to a light pink bordering the bottom edge.

Smiley

At first glance, Smiley, a 60 x 48-inch skull, appears to be simply a sizable symbol of death and evil but, upon closer inspection the viewer observes the images of people placed within the cranium of the head. The people are from a bygone era, oversentimental couples pictured dancing and frolicking in the meadow within the forest. One gentleman pictured is playing a lute, serenading a young woman, who appears rapture by the music. Another image in the center of Smiley’s forehead is of a woman wearing white, her hand is extended, motioning to her partner standing away that she is ready to dance. The images in the skull allude to memories of an obsolete time and a saccharine contrast to the notion of death and evil.
Smiley is made from one roll of wallpaper, ripped and reconfigured into a skull.

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