My first body of work is a family of peculiar beauties, created from a combination of the supple forms of dolphins and whales with seductively posed human figures. I intend them as somewhat humorous representations of the contradictory forces at play in the experience of sexual attraction. Their ambiguous nature has allowed them to evolve over time from many sources, including folklore, popular culture, and art history. The influences for a half-dolphin female character I call La Encantada include tales of mermaids from the Amazon, classic pin-up girls, and the famous nudes of Ingres and Manet. Like many shy people, I have an exhibitionist streak, and I see these the same way: as subtle and quiet on the surface, with sexy and dangerous undercurrents.
The monkeys are a new body of work, which I have only begun to explore. They are inspired by the delightfully tacky 1970’s Chinoiserie wallpaper in my bedroom. A cross between snub-nosed monkeys (who, coincidentally, live in China) and the types of flowers often depicted in Chinese art, they combine figuration with decoration.
Creating hybrids gives me the opportunity to be rigorous in my observations and playful in my interpretations. Within this framework of duality, I am continually inspired by my desire to mimic and invent forms and textures using the raw materials of clay and glaze.
— Keira Norton