Norman Jean

Liquor Cabinet (Qua Cordial Cellarette)

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Of Norman Jean, his Magnum Opus, John Casey said, “This is a piece of theatre. It’s a one act play without words.”

Norman Jean was part of the artist’s “Vessel” Series. As he explained—”Each piece in this series is a vessel in the quasi-biblical sense in which human bodies are viewed as receptacles for spirits or qualities. Their transformation into physical vessels—furniture—was prompted by item titles encountered in a turn-of-the-century furniture catalogue. As with conventional furniture, each piece in the series is composed of shaped wooden parts jointed together to provide a usable void within. But here the existence of the void—the functionality—and the construction are hidden among the carved folds of clothing. An intimation of the hidden value and complexity of even the oddest among us.

“Nature provides some colorful woods, but the palette is limited and the colors fade. In this work, airbrushed transparent ink provides truly polychrome wood with clearly visible grain and permanence. The various sheens of life, from glistening eye to flaccid flesh, are provided by chemically flattening varnish without its becoming opaque. All pieces are life size and highly detailed.”