Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) opens Cynthia Norton. Freedom Rings Placed Within

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents Cynthia Norton. Freedom Rings Placed Within, an exhibition on view March 3 – May 27, 2012.
Opening Reception: Friday March 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Cynthia Norton is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky. Influenced by the folk aesthetics and history of her surroundings, Norton’s work employs music, video, mixed media, and performance as her country-music alter ego Ninnie, in a manner that combines feminist thought with local and vernacular imagery inspired by the cultural traditions of the rural South and specifically of her native Kentucky. While often combining these different mediums, Norton uses the portrayal of the comedic country rube as a strategy to explore the peculiar relationships between folk traditions, readymade sculpture, storytelling, and technology.

Her works often have a “homespun” quality—from self-made musical instruments, made from suitcases and tennis rackets, to gritty lyrics sung by an amateur voice—which points to her “affirmative belief in the power of womanly arts.” These makeshift elements combined with her quirky persona—complete with old-timey Southern costumes fit for a country music star—all attest to Norton’s creativity and inventiveness.

Norton’s project in PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building uses paintings in the collection as sounding boards for a group of new works that reflect variously on issues like the historic portrayal of women in art, paternalism and colonialism, and the vernacular forms of folk culture.

Norton received a BFA from The University of Kentucky and an MFA in Time Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Over the past decade, Norton has exhibited and performed extensively in the USA, Europe, and Asia. In 2008, her work was featured in the exhibition The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art, organized by the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)
118-128 N. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-972-7600
www.pafa.org

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