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Indepth Arts News:

"Construction Cru: Cedar Nordbye"
2005-01-19 until 2005-02-26
Foremen Art Gallery of Bishop's University
Lennoxville, QC, CA

Known for his openness to people and their community, American artist Cedar Nordbye frequently incorporates the public’s participation in the context of his work, which is built around the concepts of identity, immigration and transmigration. With this in mind, the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University invited Nordbye to meet with various members of the Sherbrooke-Lennoxville community in order to develop an art project based on these potential exchanges. 

Fascinated by the meanders of communication, Nordbye’s work often revolves around discussion and argument. This is also the case with his current project, during which Nordbye sought the involvement of the public by conducting video interviews within which a multitude of subjects were explored. Nordbye was drawn to a few particularities in the Sherbrooke community, notably the Jewish population, which compelled him to visit the Jewish cemetery in order to retrace its history. Also having been subjected to communicating through intermediaries for reasons of translation, Nordbye consequently broached the subject of language with some of the people he interviewed, mainly in the context of how bilingualism affects the identity of the region.

Following his stay in the Sherbrooke region, Nordbye returned to his workshop in Tennessee, bringing with him all of the recorded interviews, which represented a sort of testimonial of cultural exchanges. By basing his work on the impressions left with him by these meetings, Nordbye intended to create an installation incorporating drawings on wood and video sequences. The artist goes about transferring into image, the reflections that were made during his conversations with members of the local community, and seeks to rebuild these discussions in a visual format, garnished with artistic flavor. Through this artistic process, Cedar Nordbye hopes to increase the public’s social consciousness, to make a connection to certain limitations as well as to allow people the opportunity to become involved in the creative process. Nordbye’s work can, in part be described with a quote by French art critic, Nicolas Bourriaud: “Art is the product of a relationship to the world by means of symbols, shapes and movements; it is about an economy in which the artist creates relations between people or between things, relations which escape the institutional circuits of communication.”


Cedar Nordbye holds M.A. and M.F.A degrees in Drawing and Printmaking from the University of Iowa. He is currently Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. Nordbye’s work has been shown across North America in exhibitions at Dynamite Gallery, Grand Rapids, Michigan; NFA Space, Chicago; and the Center for Contemporary Arts, Oakland, California, among others. His work is in the public collections of Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan; the Alma College Print Collection, Alma, Michigan; and the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, Iowa.

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