Arts and Culture

Rebecca Norton wants to take her abstract paintings and turn them three-dimensional — a project that will be made possible through the Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art.  

Norton — a Louisville-based painter, sculptor and digital fabrication artist — was awarded the prize on June 15. It includes a $5,000 grant intended for local artists to use as a way enhance their careers through a targeted enrichment experience.

Norton’s work occupies a unique intersection between craft, aesthetics and mathematics.

“I’m an artist that really believes in good design,” Norton says. “Not only do I think that it is important for the artwork to have good design because it puts something beautiful in the world, but it causes us to want to respond in kind to the rest of the world.”

She wants to hone the kind of design she puts into the world, which is where the Hadley Prize comes into play.

"Early Morning Encounters" by Rebecca NortonCourtesy of Rebecca Norton

“Early Morning Encounters” by Rebecca Norton

Norton will use the prize to pursue a mentorship in digital modeling and fabrication techniques with Erik S. Guzman and Kari Britta Lorensai at the Digital Fabrication Residency in Maryland. Digital modeling and fabrication is a process that joins design with production through the use of 3D modeling software.

“I want to see how I can bring my work into three dimensions using this technology now that I have more time and the funds to support this mentorship,” Norton says.

This will be Norton’s second Digital Fabrication Residency. But her goals are different this time. She plans to expand her studio practice to painting immersive and architectural installations — especially those that center on the use of light.

“Painting to me has always been primarily about light,” Norton says. “This is following in the steps of work of artists like Paul Klee and other abstract artists.”

Additionally, Norton plans on noting how the residency is run so she can implement a one-on-one mentorship program once she returns to Louisville. She plans to work with a student who will get hands-on experience in fabrication methods at FirstBuild, a micro-manufacturing facility and co-creation community sponsored by GE Appliances.

“It’s a great facility that is open to everyone, from artists to engineers to community members,” Norton says. “I envision doing this with one student at a time on the condition that they would then teach one of their new skills to a student of their own.”

The $5,000 Hadley Prize is awarded from the George and Mary Alice Hadley Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville. The endowment was established in 1991, and it supports the arts and humanities — particularly visual arts, crafts, theater and the Louisville Free Public Library. The award is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Louisville and Louisville Visual Art, which managed the application process.

Top photo, from left: Lindy Casebier, Marti Kuehn, Rebecca Norton and her fiance, Charley Miller, Anne McKune and Susan Barry.