Studio Video:


John Harlan Norris is a painter and Associate Professor of Art at Arkansas State University. His current body of work features a series of portraits in which the subjects are obscured by the signifiers of the roles they assume in their daily lives. Norris has exhibited throughout the country at venues including Plus Gallery (Denver, CO), Greg Thompson Fine Art (Little Rock, AR), 21C Museum Hotel (Bentonville, AR), Jonathan Ferrara Gallery (New Orleans, LA), Contemporary Arts Center Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV), The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), David Lusk Gallery (Memphis, TN), Arkansas Arts Center (Little Rock, AR), Florida State Museum of Fine Arts (Tallahassee, FL), The Acadiana Center for the Arts (Lafayette, LA) and others. In 2012 he was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council. His band, Harlan, has released three albums, Night Loop, Spiderette, and The Still Beat.

Artist Statement:

We all experience moments in which the roles we play in our daily lives come to define us in powerful ways. In the pursuit of prosperity, leisure, social status and personal meaning, we often assume identities that both define and fail to define us. My current body of work explores the possibilities and limitations of our daily occupations at a time in which we frequently change jobs, balance multiple roles, and cannot easily delineate between private and public life. Traditionally, the painted portrait has sought to convey both the individual characteristics of the sitter and tell us something about their role in society. In particular, the genre of occupational portraiture has described its subjects through the lens of their working lives. The portraits in this body of work seek to reinterpret this genre by deemphasizing the sitters' individual characteristics in order to create images of figures entirely consumed by their given occupations. These works concentrate on tools, uniforms, and other signifiers that both define the sitters' roles and obscure their identifying qualities. Inevitably, despite the attempt to faithfully translate each subject's position, this unwiedly process of piling on and covering up results in a certain amount of incongruity and uncertainty, perhaps offering a reflection of the rapidly changing nature of both our daily pursuits and self-perceptions. Ultimately I view this body of paintings as a kind of group portrait; one that is both intensely descriptive and curiously elusive.

Recent Press:

The Idle Class, Cover and Interview, 2015, View Here

Expose Magazine, Cover and Interview,2015, View Here

Burnaway, Review, 2015, View Here

Southern Glossary, Feature, 2014, View Here

New Orleans Art, Review, 2014, View Here

Pelican Bomb, Review, 2013, View Here

Number Inc, Review, 2013, View Here

Selected Exhibitions:

Trestle Gallery, Introductions, curated by Jim Osman, Brooklyn, NY, 2016

BRG Center for Contemporary Art, Works on Paper, solo exhibition, Baton Rouge, LA, 2015

Bradbury Art Museum, Faculty Biennial, Jonesboro, AR, 2015

The Brayer, Two Man Show, Ventura, CA, 2015

Historic Arkansas Museum, Public Face, solo exhibition, Little Rock, AR, 2015

Greg Thompson Fine Art, Magic Realism, Little Rock, AR, 2015

21C Museum Hotel, Featured Artist, Bentonville, AR, 2014-2015

Plus Gallery, Super Human, curated by Ivar Zeile, Denver, CO, 2014

Greg Thompson Fine Art, Best of the South, Little Rock, AR, 2014

Thea Foundation, Cast, solo exhibition, Little Rock, AR, 2014

Acadiana Center for the Arts, Face Time, curated by Mary Beyt and Brian Guidry, Lafayette, LA, 2014

Indi Go, Occupants, solo exhibition, Champagne, IL, 2014

BRG Center for Contemporary Art, Surreal Salon, juried by Gregory Escalante (Co-Fouder, Juxtapoz Magazine), Baton Rouge, LA, 2014

The Shop NOLA, Working Life, solo exhibition, New Orleans, LA, 2013

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, No Dead Artists, juried by Lawrence Benenson, Megan Koza Young, Jordana Zeldin, New Orleans, LA, 2013

Kresge Gallery at Lyon College, Failures, curated by Dustyn Bork and Chuck Beard, Batesville, AR, 2013

Bradbury Gallery, Faculty Biennial, Jonesboro, AR, 2013

Dumois Gallery, Intorsion, two person exhibition, New Orleans, LA, 2013

Acadiana Center for the Arts, Our Brilliant Careers, solo exhibition, Lafayette, LA, 2013

University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Occupants, solo exhibition, Little Rock, AR, 2013

Bradbury Gallery, Occupants, solo exhibition, Jonesboro, AR, 2012

David Lusk Gallery, Price is Right, Memphis, TN, 2012

The Void, Automatonz, pop-up solo exhibition, Lexington, KY, 2012

Masur Museum of Art, 49th Annual Juried Exhibition, juried by Lisa Simone (Director, Phantom Galleries LA), Monroe, LA, 2012

Barrett Art Center, New Directions ‘12, juried by Susan Cross (Curator, MASS MoCA), Poughkeepsie, NY, 2012

Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas, 23rd Annual Juried Show, juried by Mat Gleason (Curator, Critic), Las Vegas, NV, 2012

BRG Center for Contemporary Art, Occupants, solo exhibition, Baton Rouge, LA, 2012

Arkansas Arts Center, 54th Annual Delta Exhibition, juried by Tom Butler (Executive Director, Columbus Museum), Little Rock, AR, 2012

MOCA DC, You, Me, and Everybody Else: Figurative Interpretations, Washington D.C., 2012

Texas A & M University at Corpus Christi, Passengers, solo exhibition, Corpus Christi, TX, 2011

Nicholls State University, Searchers, solo exhibition, Thibodaux, LA, 2011

David Lusk Gallery, Price is Right, Memphis, TN, 2011

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 25th International Juried Show, juried by Joan Young (Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum), Summit, NJ, 2011

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, Southworks National, juried by Phaedra Siebert (Curator, Arkansas Art Center), Watkinsville, GA, 2011

Texas National, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas National, juried by James Drake (Artist), Nacogdoches, TX, 2011

Gallery 110, Couplings, juried by Rock Hushka (Curator, Tacoma Art Museum), Seattle, WA, 2011

Arkansas Arts Council, Small Works on Paper Traveling Exhibition, juried by Patter Hellstrom (Curator/Artist), ten locations throughout Arkansas, 2011

Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee International, Tallahassee, FL, 2010

David Lusk Gallery, Price is Right, Memphis, TN, 2010

Studio 2 Gallery, Artifice, Austin, TX, 2010

University of Arkansas at Monticello, Dark Side of the Room, solo exhibition, Monticello, AR, 2010

BRG Center for Contemporary Art, Royal Patterns, solo exhibition, Baton Rouge, LA, 2010

Bradbury Gallery, Faculty Biennial, Jonesboro, AR, 2009

David Lusk Gallery, Price is Right, Memphis, TN, 2009

First Street Gallery, 2009 Juried Show, juried by Patterson Sims (Curator), New York, NY, 2009

Shaw Center for the Arts, American Dream, Baton Rouge, LA, 2009

Emerald Art Center, Spring Exhibition, juried by Margot Schulzke, Springfield, Oregon, 2009

Ephemeral Gallery, Surrealist Ball, Baton Rouge, LA, 2009

Mills Pond Gallery, Juried Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Tina Kukielski (Curatorial Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art), St. James, NY, 2008

Aegon Gallery, New Paintings, solo exhibition. Danville, KY, 2008

Hilliard Art Museum, Faculty Exhibition. Lafayette, LA, 2008

Plus One Gallery, Inanimates, solo exhibition. Baton Rouge, LA, 2008

Mindpuddles Gallery, Group Exhibition, Houston, TX, 2007

ARC Gallery, Crushed Crushes, juried by Kristina Gosh, Chicago, IL, 2005

Shaw Center for the Arts, Mixed Greens. Baton Rouge, LA, 2005

Foster Gallery, The Still Beat, MFA thesis exhibition. Baton Rouge, LA, 2005

Morlan Gallery, Secrets Revealed, curated by Andrea Fisher, Lexington, KY, 2002

Arts on Main, National Juried Exhibition, juried by Julien Robsen (Curator of Centemporary Art, Speed Museum), Louisville, KY, 2000

Grants and Awards:

Vermont Studio Center, Residency and Artist's Grant, 2014

Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, 2012

Arkansas State University Faculty Research Award, 2011

Arkansas State University Art Department Teaching Award, 2010, 2011, 2012

Graduate Enhancement Award, Louisiana State University, 2003

Graduate Assistantship, Louisiana State University, 2002-2005

Mildred Wood Art Prize, Centre College, 2000

The Art Prize, Centre College, 1999

Professional Experience:

2014-Present: Associate Professor of Art: Painting and Drawing, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR

2008-2014: Assistant Professor of Art: Painting and Drawing, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR

2007-2008: Adjunct Instructor, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA

2005-2008: Adjunct Instructor, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

2005: Adjunct Instructor, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA

2003-2005: Graduate Instructor, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA


Master of Fine Arts: Painting and Drawing, Louisiana State University, 2005

Bachelor of Arts, Double Major: Studio Art / English, Centre College, 2000