June 16, 2024

Finding the art in architecture

Prof. Russ Nordman's work looks at unique architecture. His current focus is on Iowa sites, seen here in his "Iowa Combines" project.

Creston Arts’ latest monthly exhibit features Iowa architecture displayed in a unique light.

“Iowa Combines” is an ongoing project by media arts professor Russ Nordman of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. This is not Nordman’s first “Combines” project.

Prof. Russ Nordman

“I have always been influenced by the desire for symmetry and the quintessential artistic act of the formal merging with the conceptual, the unified whole, the gestalt,” Nordman said. “The “Combines” work examines machines, architecture and technological devices and their complex metaphysical relationship with humans.”

Nordman’s focus for “Iowa Combines” is on distinct historical and architectural sites around Iowa’s 99 counties.

“I have been traveling to counties across the state of Iowa to photograph the unique architecture, historical sites and distinct characteristics of each county,” Nordman said. “The eventual goal is to produce multiple digital collage art works from photographs gathered in each Iowa’s 99 counties.”

Nordman has approximately 11 of the counties completed, and is working on others, including Union County. Completed counties are Blackhawk, Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Fayette, Grundy, Hardin, Mitchell, Marshall and Pottawattamie counties.

Nordman has done all his official learning in Iowa, earning a B.A. in art at Wartburg College in 1983, an M.F.A in intermedia and video art at the University of Iowa in 1991 and an M.A. in communications studies, film and video production at the University of Iowa in 2001.

Along with schooling, Nordman was on the board of directors at Public Access Television in Iowa City from 1998 to 1999 and was the co-founder and technical director of the video series “Echotrope” from 2003 to 2010. He has served as a professor of media arts in Omaha since 2002.

In Nordman’s personal statement, he says that in all his work, he “transforms observations of the ordinary and the everyday into contemplative and imaginary commentary on the human experience.”

Before coming to the Creston Arts’ gallery in the Restored Depot, Nordman’s work has been exhibited at the California Museum of Photography, the Des Moines Art Center and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

Nordman’s work will be on display for the rest of June. The art gallery at the Restored Depot is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.