Blind Momentum by Irving Norman, two-panel oil painting, 93.75×45 inches, in the possession of Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, Utah State University.
Strongly contrasting with this curvaceous ambiance, are projecting out the black hooked pillars bearing strange letters, appearing to be strange and diabolical in their intent and purpose. The painting also contains isolated and gloomy, small triangular spaces trapping the faces presenting varied emotional states like screaming or forlorn. The presentation of the steel machinery is marked by hangings depicting glaring lights, toys, and smiley faces. The palate used is black with strong overtones of urban red, with shades of green and purple, accentuating a landscape littered with corpses and body parts, as neon lights glare from the hangings.
Perhaps the painter in this particular painting intends to bring out the cynicism, gloom, and despondency inherent in modern urban life. This in a way carries forward Irving’s favorite theme of criticizing the contemporary times and life, urging for a spirit of change. The painter in a way intends to warn the modern viewers of the consequences of the industrial panache for material progress, at the cost of human aspirations and yearnings. The screaming and smoking faces depict the sterility inherent in the modern consumerism that gained grounds in the 60s, when this painting was made, bringing to fore the demise of innocence and a sense of human kinship. The entire landscape in the painting is viciously prearranged in a mechanical way, blatantly crushing the essential humanness residing in the recesses of modern urban life.