Russ Nordman’s “Iowa Combines”January 30, 2020
Russ Nordman’s work offers a fresh perspective on imagery that is quintessentially Iowan. A native of this state, Nordman has traveled through all ninety-nine counties photographing farm equipment and architecture. Nordman manipulates his photographs into kaleidoscopic designs that bear semblance to Eastern mandalas.
Nordman’s artist statement describes his fascination with the relationship between human and machine. He writes, “These objects need us to complete their function. Without us they sit idle. We are the consciousness of the machine. With this reconfiguration, the human component is taken out, but our vestiges still remain.” Nordman’s visual reassembling of equipment, an everyday feature of the Midwest landscape, begs the viewer to contemplate what he describes as “a complex metaphysical relationship” between people and equipment.
This Midwestern artist currently teaches Media Arts at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Nordman has exhibited across the country, including the California Museum of Photography, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.