HAMMOND — A sculpture installation by artist Cedar Lorca Nordbye on exhibit at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Contemporary Art Gallery will be used to construct a new home for a local family upon conclusion of the exhibit.
The exhibit, “Building Ethics,” not only is an art installation, but also a social action, according to Nordbye, of Memphis. It will run through Aug. 21.
Gallery Director Dale Newkirk said the first phase of the art project, which blends printmaking, sculpture and social engagement, manifests itself as a sculpture installation of painted and printed lumber, a towering three-dimensional artwork that Nordbye, Southeastern students and volunteers from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia are constructing in the university gallery.
“Cedar Lorca Nordbye has created a large-scale architectural sculpture in the Contemporary Art Gallery out of painted and screen-printed construction lumber,” Newkirk says. “The sculpture was made on-site in the gallery by the artist, gallery staff, art students taking summer courses and volunteers.”
Newkirk adds that Nordbye has created previous gallery installations using these materials and methods.
“But what makes this artwork more interesting is that the decorated lumber will be going into the construction of someone’s home after the exhibition is over,” he says. “It is also the first time that the gallery has worked with an outside nonprofit organization.”
The second phase begins after the exhibition, when volunteers will dissemble the structure, and the painted lumber will be donated to The Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing. The materials will then be used in the construction of a new home for Daphne Vernon, of Hammond, a single working mom, and her 4-year-old son, Aaron.
Vernon is excited to have been selected to receive a home.
“First, I want to give all thanks to God, because without Him none of this would be possible,” she says. “Secondly, my son and I are grateful to have such wonderful and kind people to come into our lives to make what was a dream for us into a reality. It is truly a wonderful feeling to soon have a place we can call home.”
In the past year, Nordbye has carried out two smaller projects that involved partnerships with Habitat for Humanity — one in Memphis, Tennessee, and one in Lexington, Kentucky.
“For 15 years I have dreamed of using painted, printed lumber to completely transform the appearance of a framed house to be something awe inspiring,” Nordbye says. “A significant motivation of this project is to bring excitement and energy to the charitable organizations that are carrying out the important work of creating housing across the country and the world.”
Raised in California, Nordbye was educated at New Hampshire College and the University of Iowa and now resides in Memphis, where he is associate professor of art at the University of Memphis.
The Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery, 100 E. Stadium, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free.
For more information, call (985) 549-5080.