Maria Nordman’s public projects mark a radical departure from recent theoretical arguments on whether context of art, its medium, or its (hyper) art-conscious viewers are most responsible for its ultimate determination. Nordman opts instead to create rather quiet and unassuming public situations in which one’s social, architectural, and psychological boundaries are extremely and profoundly altered. While these partially enclosed and demarcated places and structures provide opportunities for viewers to suddenly and temporarily lose themselves, the sudden presence and awareness of this opportunity (and fantasy) can also be quite disarming. This is particularly true in the aggressive urban environments in which many of us work and live. However, Nordman’s work is not intended to be threatening; its foremost beauty and function is to subtly and subliminally pique one’s interest; to the point that more private, psychological needs and desires are revealed in one’s experience of the piece. Nordman’s semi-private, semi-public places encourage us to relax without compromising ourselves; this is an unexpected and pleasing gift that viewers nonetheless must chooose in order to receive.
Nordman will create a site-specific installation from the component parts of Conjunct (cit of light), a natural wood, two-room pavilion, originally exhibited fully assembled in New York’s Central Park. She will also display several of her drawings at the University of Chicago’s Social Services Building.