Todd Norsten, for nearly two decades, has made a remarkably consistent and minimal body of work that is duplicitous in its simplicity. Simultaneously cryptic and direct, the works fully embrace contradiction and mystery as they depict common objects, simple text or nothing. The viewer is privy to a conversation among the works as a whole that toggles between clarity and confusion.
His paintings are filled with rudimentary marks, sloppy lettering, awkward cropping and sometimes dirty surfaces. Upon first glance they look careless or naive. Closer examination reveals an accurate research on the possibilities of language. Words and discrete images, whether they are handmade or mechanically produced, aim for a direct and simplified deposit of information with the singular purpose of re-contextualizing the texts in a completely different system of communication.
By employing a variety of painting techniques from the tribute to Minimal Art to trompe l’oeil, Todd Norsten makes clear his faith in the act of painting and choose to depict signs and objects which belong to popular culture, transforming them into minimal and humorous works that give character to things that are transitory or ephemeral.