Ari O. Norris

Publication Date


Document Type


Legacy Department

School of Art


(Show Statement) A nondescript image of a sailboat and a pair of clouds, titled "A Scene from Moby Dick," hangs in the living room of The Simpson's family above the couch. Without knowing the title, the cartoon composition could also be mistaken as an illustration of Bas Jan Ader's final performance & photograph, "In Search of the Miraculous;' the artist's 1975 attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a Guppy Model 13. Poised to break the record for the smallest vessel to complete the transAtlantic haul, Ader's boat, the Ocean Wave, was found adrift 10 months following the departure. His body was never recovered. Interpreting the "Miraculous," as a physical location - an island oasis - Ader's journey has actually been completed and detailed in this group of work. Placing the appropriated imagery on pegboard locates the interpretations to a home, garage, or workshop - similarly to the cactus, appearing to be transplanted from island to terra cotta pot - questioning what is truth and what is imagined. Through the observation of human foible, reality and fiction are ironically blended to present our own quest for the miraculous in the mundane.


(Artist Statement) Using realism and an attention to craft, an ironic impotency is achieved by the dismantlement of real-world objects and their uses. A viewer's investigations can uncover alterations and abandonments from the cited material, bending believability while inducing questionability. Aiming these duplications to compare expectation vs. reality through the negation of the referenced object's function; specific imagery is selected to comedically deflate the associations of the subject matter. As reality is slightly abandoned, the seriousness of contemporary realism is critiqued through the lens of humor.

20190503_0173.jfif (6095 kB)
"Dreaming of a Home We'll Find Out on the Sea," & "Dreaming of a Life on the Ocean Wave." 2019 Laser Manipulated Acrylic Sheet, Paint, Aluminum Composite Panel

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"Reproduction of Performance Announcement," 2019. Wood, Laser Manipulated Acrylic Sheet, Paint

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"Reproduction of Performance Announcement," 2019. Wood, Laser Manipulated Acrylic Sheet, Paint

BFA 004.jpg (7480 kB)
"Tally Marks (21)," 2019. Brass, Paint, Granite

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"The Miraculous (Transplanted)," 2019. Wood, Aluminum, Cast Bronze, Cast Resin, Paint, Fabric




Northern Illinois University

Alt Title

BFA Exhibition 2019

Media Type