Andrew Nordin | Threshold Paintings
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Kandiyohi County Baroque (Ornament)
Oil on Canvas, 42” x 36”, 2017

THRESHOLD: paintings of rural decay


Recently, I have been more interested in the use of visual source materials, mainly my own photographs, and the potential to translate those images quite clearly and simply, without much improvisation. Art Critic James Elkins writes about this notion in his book “Six stories at the end of representation”, in which he describes the de nition of threshold as it relates to the point in which a picture gives way to what is taken to be unrepresentable. He relates the etymology of the word sublime as meaning “up to the threshold”. This, to me, is the area of painting I am investigating, and with this project, illustrating: The sublime feeling when confronted with the stark nakedness of rural decay, and how it can translate into abstract painting.


Iron Range
Oil on Linen 42” x 36” 2017
Study for Rosendale Corn Crib
Oil on Linen 23” x 16” 2017

There is also a threshold that is tread upon daily in the rural landscape, the area between city and country, or nature and civilization. During my daily commute through west central Minnesota, I am aware of some of the signi ers of this threshold: Bare buildings, farmsteads, shed and barns, and utility buildings. There is another contrast, that of economy, wealth, and lack thereof, and one great example of that tends to be material decay, of buildings, their structures, and the decoration of them that exists or used to exist. With this exhibit, a range of compositions are generated, from minimal to hard-edge, as well as the act of engaging in painterly surfaces and all-over gestures leaning towards action painting.

THRESHOLD: paintings of rural decay raises interest and dialogue about the footprint rural architecture has on the landscape of Minnesota, and the paradigm of decay and renewal as it relates to farm outbuildings, businesses, and social spaces such as community centers, places of worship, restaurants and pubs. As much as decay is a symbol of death or an ending, it is also, as any biologist would note, the necessity of renewal.

~ Andrew Nordin

Kandiyohi County Baroque (Evil Eye Ward)
Oil on Canvas 36” x 42”, 2017
Kandiyohi County Baroque (Evil Eye Ward)
Oil on Canvas 36” x 42”, 2017