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Norman Lundin – painting the past

Norman Lundin is slow to embrace the new. He stakes his studio practice in the pre-modernist 19th century, as an off-shoot of the Barbizon School with a hat tip to 17th Century Dutch still life. His palette is sliver-gray and mossy green. When he hits a hot note, it’s usually an emergency, like a fire.

The Fire at Petersons Crossing
oil / canvas, 2008
unframed: 38 x 86″

normanlundinfire.jpgAbout the artist’s own life I know little, but his paintings live in the world as depressed solitaries. The he who is their unseen narrator drives alone on country roads. Usually it’s raining. If he stepped outside, his shoes would sink into muck. If there’s light ahead, he hasn’t reached it.

Tornado Weather Northeastern Wyoming
oil / canvas, 2010
42 x 90″

normanlundinroad.jpgIn describing his studio, the narrator allows himself a few flourishes. Like the Dutch before him, he can paint a bowl with the qualities of ceramic next to translucent glass and the dull sheen of polished tin. As a view beyond his leaded-glass windows, he can articulate spindly winter trees in a foggy purple haze.

Studio in Half Light II

oil / canvas, 2009
31 x 91″

normanlundinstudo.jpgThe play of light interests the narrator more than what it plays upon. Light is never redemptive, but it’s worth the time it takes to notice its qualities. Objects are interchangeable, like roads or tables or nude women reclining on beds.

Room with Three Jars oil / canvas, 2010 
40″ x 66

normanlundin3jars.jpgHere’s the entirety of Lundin’s artist statement:

The less you have, the more important what is there becomes.

He is a painter of reduced expectations and subtle skill. He likes to show off that skill but takes pains that his final product have an element of the casual. The hard work he hides. It’s nobody’s business but his own. 
At Francine Seders Gallery through Oct. 3.


  1. alfred Harris says

    These are beautiful.

  2. They are, aren’t they. They are why, quoting the Emily Dickenson poem, “Hope is a thing with feathers,” Woody Allen titled a collection of his essays, “Without Feathers.”

  3. To Norman Lundin: I love all your work. I can really feel a sense of place, a stark beauty and simplicity. My own work takes things out of place, sort of the opposite in which you work. You’ve given me some ideas to think about. I will check out your blog site from time to time. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work.

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