UN-EXAMINED, an art exhibit by Cecil Norris at Gaston College, April 9-June 24

UN-EXAMINED, an art exhibit by Cecil Norris at Gaston College

Cecil J. Norris is an innovative artist whose preferred artistic mediums are painting, drawing, and printmaking. Using his remarkable talent, he challenges the visual standards and collective conscious of imagery in art.

His new art exhibition, UN-EXAMINED, will be on display at the Gaston College Jeanne Rauch Gallery from April 9 – June 24, sponsored by the Gaston College Art Department. Currently, due to the COVID pandemic, the gallery is closed to the public, but the art department is looking forward to doing some virtual programming and to hold a closing reception in June. Gaston College art instructor Liliya Zalevskaya is the curator for the exhibit.

Norris’s artwork UN-EXAMINED, is an introspective look into his own life. He aims to raise the questions about race, genders, religion, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using symbolic and figurative paintings. Norris draws on his memory, life events, and stories to examine the cultural narrative of the representation of African American men and women.

“In some of my work, I use large-scale, bold paintings with a depth of color,” said Norris. “In other pieces, you can see traces of specific paintings of The Old Masters, replaced with contemporary images of black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives.”

 “My paintings are a testament to our complex yet inescapable relationship with the past and present, but I hope to provoke an emotional response out of the viewer to elicit change in the future. I purposely blur the lines of realism and abstraction to reveal something that has been lost from history and investigate the ambiguity and perplexity of black identity,” he said.

“I focus on the emotional atmosphere, energy, and space that my figures inhabit which allows me to strip away the layers of myself that help me to better understand and reflect what I see as my place in society,” said Norris.

Cecil Norris also known as C.J. was born and raised in Shelby, North Carolina, where he currently lives and works. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte. He is an art teacher at Crest High School, where he hopes to cultivate a new age of artists. 

For more information on about Un-EXAMINED and the Jeanne Rauch Gallery, contact,  Liliya Zalevskaya at Zalevskaya.liliya@gaston.edu. 











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