Hidari-uma: Riding the Horse Backwards, Embracing the Unknown

MARCH 5 – APRIL 18, 2021
Emily Galusha Gallery
Curated by Amanda Dobbratz

Mike Norman’s work is part allegory, alchemy, poetry, and Mingei-sota. Norman grew up in Duluth, near the shore of Lake Superior, with his artist parents about whom the neighbors would whisper, “They are Bohemians.” He and his sister spent their childhood reading, painting, building forts, and creating imagined adventures in the wilderness. At his grandparents’ farm, he developed a deep love of animals and a particular affinity for the big black and brown floppy-eared dog named Rip. You can see Rip, and other animals Norman has loved, over and over again in the illustrations on his pots and the figures in his sculpture. These animals have become part of his lexicon, his personal taxonomy of stand-ins for nostalgic adventure and poetic iconography.

This retrospective of Norman’s work will celebrate his career of over 50 years and will feature new sculptures made specifically for the exhibition.

Hidari-uma is a Japanese word meaning left-hand or dark-side horse. If refers to when a potter gets or builds a new kiln. The tradition is, a horse is brought to the pottery, standing in front of and facing away from the kiln. The potter climbs on the horse’s back facing the back of the horse. The horse begins to walk away ‘into the future’ The potter sees only his old work and is yet to know what he and his new kiln will make. I see myself as the rabbit on my horse sculpture. I am riding forward in time with my love of life and clay.
—Mike Norman

Artist Demonstration: Mike Norman
Saturday, April 10, 12 – 2 pm

Join Mike Norman on his 82nd birthday as he shares a demonstration live from his studio, including a casual conversation about his life and the development of his body of work.

Virtual Tour