Strategy Guides | Norah Horwitz
September 4 – 28, 2018
Reception: Thursday, September 13, 6-8 PM
(Artist talk at 6:30 PM)
White Gallery at Portland State University presents Strategy Guides, a solo exhibition by Virginia-based illustrator and comic artist Norah Horwitz, featuring drawn recreations of Vogue magazine covers.
Statement from curator Andrew D. Jankowski:
Strategy Guides is a collection of impressionist facsimiles by trans illustrator and artist Norah Horwitz, created in heteronormative male-dominated spaces including sports bars. Horwitz’s recreations of Vogue magazine covers sample the editorship of Anna Wintour, inviting the viewer —employing the language of video game culture —to consider popular media sources as a means of transmitting social norms, and how organizations led by people with marginalized statuses do not always serve the communities to which they belong. Horwitz’s selections include common themes of noir, romance and realism: actresses, models and musicians embodying Western female fantasy archetypes, including the Femme Fatale, the Damsel and the Beach Babe. While stewarded by a female editor in chief, Vogue documents women who anticipate the male gaze. Horwitz’s covers also include media narratives aged beyond their contemporary era, highlighting Vogue’s responsibility as a 125 year old international journalistic platform. Horwitz adds layers of manipulation to her drawings of digitally and physically altered photographs by including expressions of weariness and fatigue, highlighting the physical and emotional labors performed by muses and artistic subjects.
“Tracing, photo reference and impressionist influences echo some of the undercurrents of my transition —assembling a new life as a woman in a culture where being a woman is defined primarily through mass media imagery. The concept of ‘passing’ is rooted in non-trans people’s comparing trans people to their own reality. In this sense, ‘passing’ is easily achievable, if you study mass culture and mimic the things culture wants to see from women. These drawings suggest I aspire to these images, when in reality they present a means of navigating through a non-trans world. I play parts of the characters in the images, as the actresses portrayed do. I want to present an ambiguity about my feeling on each subject, as they are complicated icons.”
Norah Horwitz is an illustrator and artist who used to work for Marvel Comics. It did not go well. She currently resides in Virginia Beach, and participated in the Rainmaker Artist Residency program in Portland, OR. Horwitz was active in Portland’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, making promotional images and club caricatures for RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni and their fans, and performs high-concept drag art under the stage name Menorah. Horwitz is the author of Miss U.S. of Heya, a graphic novel about a beauty pageant with only one rule: be totally unforgettable. Horwitz’s other works include My Boyfriend Walt Whitman, a time-based literary project where she made up a boyfriend for a year, and The Wookie Woof Book, a Tijuana Bible starring Chewbacca.