Several years ago I had the pleasure of a studio visit with Felicita Norris, she was an MFA candidate at Stanford University. Her paintings were dark, sensual, bold – and could she paint!! I took two life size paintings to an art fair that same year, “Not White Enough” and “Thank You for the Worthless Day.” Those paintings were uncompromising as they stripped down the politics of a brown woman’s body in somber sensual tableaus.
Now, fast forward to the present. I have the immense pleasure of presenting the extraordinary talent of Felicita Norris in her first exhibition at the gallery, this September 2023.
Constructing a personal narrative fraught with psychological force, Felicita Norris provokes examination and interrogation. As a woman, and more specifically a BIPOC woman, she’s aware of the overt sexualization of women of color. Her paintings depict a conflicted, unvarnished sexuality, assigning tropes of fantasy to the pain of objectification, assumption, and trauma. While exploring self-portraiture, the paintings also include family and close friends who’ve agreed to act in her high-octane melodramas. While addressing psychological states, Norris’s paintings are also meticulously detailed, from the rendering of spider veins and crumpled textiles, to a wallpaper motif reflected in a mirror. Her attention to minutiae delivers an unapologetic honesty to her work.
Felicita Norris received her BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, in 2013, and her MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University, in 2015.