Norine Spurling

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Norine Spurling (American, 1930-) Western New York artist, printmaker, painter, lecturer and poet primarily known for her figurative and still life watercolor paintings, photographic collage, printmaking and drawings. Norine grew up in Bermuda, but when a local watercolorist she studied with recognized her artistic talent and her parents later sent her to study painting at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. She continued to the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and Design and after having lived in California for several years and raising a family, she moved to Western New York, where she completed her formal education at the University at Buffalo where she received her BFA in 1969 and her MFA in 1975. She taught as an Associate Professor in drawing at UB for several years afterward and is now retired. She maintains her studio in Amherst, NY and is very active in the local art scene, teaches workshops, and is also currently the director of the Artists Committee Gallery in Buffalo.

Norine has exhibited widely throughout Western New York, the United States and abroad, and has won numerous awards for her work. Select exhibitions include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY, Talahassee, FL, Brea, CA, Melbourne, Australia, and Hamilton, Bermuda. Her artworks are in several major collections including the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY, Blue Cross of Western new York, and West Publishing Co., Saint Paul, MN. She is a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists (served as past president and was on the board), Hallwalls, the Western New York Artists Group, and the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society. Her work is in the collections of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Blue Cross of Western New York, among others.

Norine has employed a wide variety of media throughout her career to express her fascination with human relationships, everyday occurrences and, most prominently, memory and personal history. While watercolor is her primary focus, Spurling also experimented with charcoal, printmaking and photographic collage. In her drawings and paintings, Spurling focuses on capturing the essence of a subject at a single moment in time, regardless of whether the subject is a person or a carefully arranged still life. Inspired by female impressionists Mary Cassatt and Alice Neal, Spurling paints mainly women and children. She keeps a collection of old photographs, striving to emulate their transitory emotion in her work. Spurling’s figures often have a smudgy, ethereal appearance that emphasizes the impermanence of memory. Most recently, Spurling painted a series of watercolors of children swimming, reflecting upon her childhood in Bermuda.

Artist Statement:

“In my work I try to create a dream-like half remembered aura of the past, a suggestion of the hopes and dreams of these, the people of a bygone era.”

Norine is one of the founding members of Women of the Crooked Circle writing group in Buffalo, NY and enjoys writing poetry. While teaching a class in the Black Mountain program at UB, Norine initially met Jimmie Gilliam, who was teaching a writing class there. At this time she began to reflect on her youthful interest in creative writing and was inspired to enroll in a writing workshop with Jimmie. She then took workshops with other Buffalo poets, like Anne Goldsmith and Jorge Guitart. Most recently, Norine is also the author of her own book of poetry simply titled POEMS (2014).

POEMS, reflect a lifetime of attention to experience, to feeling, to thought, which she shapes into words. Her luscious images are color drenched: “milk stained sky”, “carmine wash”, “bird calls/ a turquoise song”, “fading sunset’s garnet cast”. She uses myth, travel, people to probe for their meanings. Her poems of loss break the heart, though she is unafraid to collect those who passed in the honest assessment of all they meant to her. She surprises the reader with poems that startle and make new. We can understand the “vinegar bones of yesterday” though no one has quite said it like that before. In these poems she carefully elucidates the stages of a woman’s life and carefully reflects on all she has known. This beautiful book will call us again and again to enjoy not only the visual imagery but also the sounds of place, time, and memory.[1] —Linda Drajem, Professor of English, SUNY College at Buffalo.

A wonderful short movie about Norine from the “Buffalo Society of Artists Portrait Series”, Directed & Edited by Nathan M. Peracciny of Peracciny Media Co.,, filmed in Norine’s studio May 10, 2012 can be viewed here.

. Assistant Producer was Jake Barber, Interviewer George Grace and BSA Chairperson Beth Pedersen. Made possible by the BSA Eye Candy Fundraiser.

Select Exhibitions:

1996- October 4-December 18, exhibited, group alumni & faculty show, “UB's Sesquicentennial Tribute to the UB Art Program”, University Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, North Campus, University of Buffalo, NY. 1998- February 7-April 19, exhibited, group show, “The Inanimate: 12 Artists on Still Life”, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2006- July 28-August 24, exhibited, group juried show, “Annual Members’ Show: Not for Human Consumption”, Woman Made gallery, Chicago, IL.

2011- August 29-November 7, exhibited, group show, “Women Artists in Western New York: Selections from the Gerald Mead Collection”, Nichols School, Buffalo, NY.

2012- May 11-August 26, exhibited, group show, “The Artists Among Us II: The Burchfield Penny’s Members’ Exhibition”, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY. June 23, exhibited, juried show, “Artists, Authors and the Architect: A Cultural Collaboration to benefit the Fontana Boathouse”, exhibit of 30 works from members of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fontana Boathouse, Buffalo, NY.

2013- September 7-28, exhibited, group show, “small works - BIG TALENT Group Show”, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA. October 9-31, exhibited, solo show, 20 watercolor paintings, Amherst Center for Senior Services, Amherst, NY. October 20-November 17, exhibited, group juried show, “Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society Fall Members’ Exhibit”, The Kenan Center, Lockport, NY. October 31-November 15, exhibited, group show, “22nd Annual Regional Exhibition of the Western New York Artists Group”, Artists Group Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2014- June 6-July 26, exhibited, group show, “Rita’s Choice: Inspiring Friends”, an exhibition of work chosen by watercolor artist Rita Argen Auerbach which included artists who have been inspired by and/or been inspirational to Rita in her artist/teacher journey, Studio Hart, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, group show, “Transparent Watercolor Society of America”, Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha, WI.

2015- May 30-July 18, exhibition, group show, “The Ridge: Benefit Exhibition for the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy” (CRC), which supports the restoration and preservation of the rich natural, recreational and historic resources of Chestnut Ridge Park, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

2016- January 10-February 14, exhibition, solo show, "Fragments: Watercolors & Drawings by Norine Spurling", guest curated by Gerald Mead, Public Reception Sunday, January 10 from 2:00-5:00pm, Kenan Center Gallery, Lockport, NY.

Memberships/Associations: Buffalo Society of Artists (served on board of directors, past president), Buffalo, NY; Members’ Gallery, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Hallwalls, the Western New York Artists Group, Buffalo, NY; the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Buffalo, NY; Partners in Art, North Tonawanda, NY; Founding member of the Women of the Crooked Circle writing group, Buffalo, NY; Just Buffalo Literary Center, Buffalo, NY; and the League of Women Voters, Buffalo, NY.

Collections: Permanent Collections of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY; The Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Blue Cross of Western New York; Bonwit Teller, Buffalo, NY; Corporate Art Collection, Kemper Group, Long Grove, IL; Charles Rand Penney, Upstate NY Collection, Lockport, NY; Chase Lincoln Bank, Williamsville, NY; Chase Lincoln Bank, Rochester, NY; Damon & Morey, Attys. at Law, Buffalo, NY; Erie Press Systems, Erie, PA; Golddome Bank, Buffalo, NY; Golddome Realty Credit Corp., Buffalo, NY; Pepsi Cola Bottling Co., Buffalo, NY; Siegel Kellerer & Kahn, Buffalo, NY; Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY; Ticor Title Insurance, Buffalo, NY; U.S. Tax Court, Buffalo, NY; Westwood Pharmacy, Buffalo, NY; and the West Publishing Co., St. Paul, MN.

(Compiled & written chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, from sources:;, “Artists” & “Exhibitions”;, “Buffalo Society of Artists: Norine Spurling”, Dec. 8, 2012; facebook;, brief biographical information;, book & quote [1], poems, by Norine Spurling, Buffalo Arts Publishing, Buffalo, NY, 2014;, online video series, “Buffalo Society of Artists Portrait Series: Norine Spurling (short)” Directed by Nathan M. Peracciny of Peracciny Media Co.,;, “2014 Exhibition”;, “Norine Spurling”;, Stepout Buffalo, “by Dinac: Classes; Workshops, Culture & Arts, Free, Things to Do, April 25, 2015; Pencils in Your Palette”;, “Amherst resident’s watercolors add a splash to Senior Center”, by Kaitlin Lindahl, reporter, 10/09/2013;, “small works - Big Talent Group Show”, posted by Penny Collins;, “small works - Big Talent Group Show”;, “Rita’s Choice: Inspiring Friends”;, “Private Events: Artists, Authors and the Architect: A Cultural Collaboration to benefit the Fontana Boathouse”;, “Art Scene: Western New York Artists Group 22nd Annual Regional Exhibition”, by Jack Foran, Issue v12n44, 10/31/13;, past exhibitions, “Members’ Show 2006”;, “News: Kenan Center to Present Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society Exhibit”, by Elaine Harrigan, Marketing Director of the Kenan Center;, “Art Show Opening: Women Artists in Western New York Selections from the Gerald Mead Collection”, 09/06/2011;, Reporter, “Works by outstanding alumni, faculty to be shown in tribute to UB art program”, by Patricia Donovan, News Services Editor, Vol. 28, No. 3, September 12, 1996.)