This past weekend at Crosstown Arts, artist and U of M professor Cedar Lorca Nordbye began the install for his upcoming show, “To Frame - To Construct - To Occupy," with two materials: more than a ton of fresh lumber and four big, empty walls.
"There is a sense of wonder,” Nordbye says, “to coming into a room and seeing this much wood...I thought, ‘When am I ever going to have piles of lumber and a huge empty room again?”
Nordbye is no stranger to wood-centric installation (past works include cluttered and colorful “Everything Connects to Everything” as well as a sparse and dark related work, “Everything Connects to Emmett”), but “To Frame” is the artist’s most ambitious installation to date. For the project, Nordbye sourced lumber from several local sources and recruited around 30 people to help paint the boards.
Using the wood, Nordbye will construct a small house inside the Crosstown Arts gallery space. The gallery walls are painted to appear as an active deconstruction of the house — Nordbye brings his talent as a draftsman into several huge, fragmented murals. Following the exhibition, the lumber will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and used to construct a new home.
Nordbye says, “This project goes back to a fantasy that I had about 10 years ago. I thought, ‘I would love to have a contractor deliver the whole lumber load and let me work on the wood and then have it be randomized into the construction of a real house.”
“To Frame” treats themes of diaspora and residence. The show, rapidly and intuitively drawn together, takes place in a spare moment of the whole project. Nordbye plays the role of artist-as-orchestrator — pulling together disparate people and materials — for the final structure, a marked record of its journey.
Opening is Friday, April 25th from 6-9 at Crosstown Arts (422 N Cleveland.) Show runs through May 24. Casual artist's talk at 6:30 on Friday.