Cedar Norbye

Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College announces its first show of the fall
season: Cedar Lorca Nordbye “Construction”

The show will run from September 5th through October 15th, 2003. The artist will present a free lecture on his work in Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 4th. The reception for the show will be Friday, September 5th, from 5-7 p.m.

In his artist’s statement for the show Nordbye writes:

“In 1999 I had a strange caffeine-induced epiphany at about two in the morning. I found myself unsure if I had been lying in bed thinking for two hours, or if I had slept and dreamt. To determine which, I began to trace my thoughts back, plotting a course through the ideas generated by my mind which was so labyrinthine that I was stunned by the awesome scope and vastness of human thought. This model of thought manifest itself in my studio practice six months later in a series of drawings on two-by-fours, which when butted against one another gave form to the interplay of my ideas.

“For this current exhibition, that embodiment of my mental activity will leave the wall and draw in space, playing with the form of a framed house, which I remember marveling at as a child, on my father’s construction sites. My father IS a Jewish carpenter and I am 33years old, the age of Jesus in the year of his death, and No, I don’t have a Messiah complex (at least not an out of control one).

“This dwelling-like cluster of partial walls has connections to portable or provisional structures of all sorts, but specifically relates to the temporary shelters constructed by Jews every autumn to celebrate the holiday, Sukkot, the “feast of tabernacles.” The tabernacles, or “booths” are traditionally built to commemorate the shelter the Jews received miraculously during their desert wanderings.

“Personally, the Succa invokes for me the constant state of placelessness and displacement that I find myself in. (It seems the only place I find myself located
constantly is this “state of displacement”). The existence of this shelter, that I can take with me also reminds me that even while in a state of wandering, lacking the anchor that I often crave, I still find myself sheltered, taken care of, blessed.

This year the holiday Sukkot falls on the week of October tenth (during the final week of the exhibition).”

Nordbye’s construction for the show will mix sculpture, drawing and printmaking. His work combines self portraiture, religious iconography and pop-culture images.  At the heart of his installation for Clough-Hanson will be a structure built with two by fours and on these two by fours will be prints and drawings. His writings for the show reveal the artist’s aim to raise certain questions with his work:

“Is my art a candle or a mirror? By dwelling on the specific, the topical, don’t I risk becoming dated, obsolete, banal? Is it useful, accurate or in keeping with my being for me to go on calling myself Jewish? Is it because I am Jewish that I often focus my eye on the issues of Palestine and Israel? Is it because I am Jewish that I love to argue? Are my concerns and characteristics not specifically Jewish, but actually more widely “diasporic” in nature? What is terrorism? Can I possibly have a glimmer of an understanding of what it would be like to kill and/or be killed for deeply held beliefs? Can I even hope to have a glimmer of an understanding of what it is like to be you? Who are you? Why don’t you and I talk, instead of me writing to you in this way (or trying to talk to you with pictures even)? Is the conversation that I hope results from my art the true object of my art? If so, then why make material objects at all? Why not just have a conversation? Are there statements that I could make with certainty? Is there a sentence that I could end with not a question mark, but a period instead?”

Cedar Lorca Nordbye is a recent transplant to Memphis and begins working as a Professor of Art at the University of Memphis beginning this semester. His work has been shown in exhibitions across North America including shows at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Dynamite Gallery in Grand Rapids, Fassbender Gallery in Chicago, and The Center for Contemporary Arts in Oakland, CA.