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Art in the Cafe - Show Schedule - Past Shows

Show Dates: 2012-11-01 - 2012-11-30
Title: People
Artist: Norah Perry
My name is Norah Perry. I am twenty-three years old. I am an artist. I am not ready to face the world without an adequate amount of hair-twisting, nail-biting and mouth-chewing each day. I am mildly obsessive, but pretty good at pretending to be perpetually relaxed. Facts: I graduated over a year ago now from Beloit College and cannot decide whether or not I miss it. I majored in Studio Art and English. This is my 11th month in Madison. I spend all my free time trying to figure out how to avoid having free time. Drawing and painting allows me to escape into my own little world, where no one can touch me. It is the easiest and most spectacular way to seize independent happiness. I am going to continue to create beautiful artwork that will evoke ever-present emotion from here on out.


I remember sitting in a dimly lit kitchen with around five people I know relatively well, some better than others. Something very subtle occurred but also something very memorable to me. The person there that I felt the closest too in terms of personality type, relayed his opinion on a matter but had a “difficult” time explaining. A girl across the table laughed at him for taking a long time to explain his “strange” and invalidated opinion. I saw his face flash with this instinctive look of...rejection. It was simultaneous hurt and resentment towards this person who laughed because she did not understand why laughing was inappropriate. I know how he felt. I also know that she did not mean to be so harsh. I also know that he does not need my pitied gaze. All three of us relayed non-verbal communications - all potentially insulting or hurtful.

There are happy and sad moments of non-verbal communication. I used to believe that verbal communication was heavily overrated mainly because I struggle to verbalize what I truly feel. Now I believe that too much weight is given to non-verbal communication in social settings. So much of it is spontaneous. So much of it is unintended.

I once had a friend ask me why my “default” face was sad. One’s default face is hard to change since it is basically one’s natural resting expression. If I had even a penny for the number of times people have asked me why I look upset or pissed off, I would have at least a dollar; or more. The point is some people tend to give off emotions that either reveal what they are feeling or completely obscure them. How do you find a balance? How do you relay exactly what you feel?

The intent of this body of work is to explore the world through the eyes of non-verbal communication. I can relate to each person and what they feel, because I have felt it. I investigate facial expressions of people I am close to in order to relate emotional experiences in settings. Some faces are placed in conjunction with one another to show a revealing relationship about pleasure or displeasure. The scenarios in which each character is put are meant to reflect personal feelings about certain situations. Non-verbal communication no longer matters when one is alone. But what if someone is watching?

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