Art Professor Is Busy in the Community
Department of Art Professor Cedar Nordbye is living the new University of Memphis mantra "Driven By Doing" through a variety of shows and events. His year-plus particularly busy schedule began in April 2014 with an installation he created out of a load of lumber, which he painted and printed in his show "To Frame, Construct, To Occupy" at the Crosstown Arts Gallery. The lumber will be used in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home this coming spring.
In November 2014, he carried out a similar project, "Partnership House" in Lexington, Kentucky with Juan Rojo, artist and UofM adjunct professor. For this show, Nordby and Rojo built a free-standing house/chapel structure out of painted and printed lumber in an empty lot in a transitioning neighborhood near the Lexington Art League. The Lexington Art League hosted the project as part of their series, "Interstruct," curated by Becky Alley. The lumber was later used in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home this past spring.
In February of this year, he organized a printmaking exhibition called "Rust-City Revival" at Crosstown Arts. The show included prints from artists from Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Memphis. He also included several prints, as well as those from Department of Art graduate students in Printmaking. That same month he participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Crosstown Arts renovation of the Sears Building on North Cleveland. He is one of about 10 local artists who created relief sculpture-tiles that were cast in iron at the groundbreaking. They used the iron of salvaged radiators that were taken from the building and melted.
In March, he presented a paper, "Joseph Albers' Tiananmen Square," at the biannual conference of Foundation in Art Theory and Education (FATE) in Indianapolis, Ind. The paper examined how art faculty can address the audit-culture, business-model oriented systems of accounting imposed upon institutions of higher learning, which he considers a crisis in higher education.
In April, he was a visiting artist at Austin Peay State University where he conducted critiques of student work and gave a lecture on his own art. He was there at the request of Department of Art alumna Rachel Bush (MFA '14), who was recently hired as an assistant professor in Graphic Design at Austin Peay. Also in April, he displayed an installation at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Memphis, as part of curator Jason Miller's second exhibition there, "Circuitous Succession Epilogue Part II." Miller is museum media specialist at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis. Norbye's installation incorporated printmaking and sculpture with an existing mural. It also featured video interviews of members of the Scottish Rite projected onto the installation.
In May 2015, he presented a performance art piece at the Dixon Museum called "The
Artist is Present and Tense." The performance combined carpentry and wooden sculpture
with dialogue and argument to play with the parallels between the way we rethink our
worldview and how we remodel a home or a museum. The performance focused on issues
central to the formation of
community, issues of otherness, exclusion, friendship and antagonism.
In July, he had an exhibition of his work in the Contemporary Art Gallery at South Eastern Louisiana State University in Monroe, La. It was the largest manifestation of this body of work. He was there at the request of Jeff Mickey (MFA '06), professor of sculpture at SELSU.