In a world saturated with mass media where it takes a team of well-paid designers to tweak and polish the next must-have thing to consume, the ethos of the personal and hand made offers an especially attractive aesthetic alternative. Jockum Nordstrom’s latest exhibition of quirky drawings and collages filled with eccentric imagery begins to satiate that desire for the imperfect; to celebrate a little less polish and little more humanity.
Nordstrom’s imagery has a naive outsider quality, but in this case it’s not another merchandized example of art brüt. The quality of images and construction of collage reveals an intentionality not often evident in the art of the mad. I am reminded of a comment Donald Baechler made some years ago while I was in graduate school. During a lecture he described how after he graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, his drawing was burdened with the heavy weight of western classical tradition and he has been seeking ways to unlearn it and find a new way to draw, to find his own hand. I had always admired that recognition to find ones own voice, and I see that authentic voice in Nordstrom’s body of work. His unique vision can be found in works such as “Education” and “Ache,” gritty architectural models made from scraps of illustration board and paper.
The exhibition of work is mostly comprised of work on paper; “Homework,” a large collage truly stands out. It uses repetitive scraps of paper, perhaps remnants of home work assignments, but what ever it is, the grid created by these scraps and the resulting patchwork quilt of images is an exciting and playful composition. The pencil drawings of strange little interiors represented in such works as “Like a Lost Soul” and “How Long.” His childlike renderings are a strange delight in their perversity and the implied narratives of his imagery offer a playful and soulful view of the world.