Maria Nordman is a German-American sculptor and conceptual artist, who is known for her controlled sculptures and the play and interplay of light, space, and sound on her work. She became part of Southern California’s Light and Space Movement in the late 1960s. Nordman created a series of sculptures, (the term she prefers over ‘installations’) based on ambient sunlight, two-way mirrors, and darkened spaces.
Born in the former East Germany, Nordman studied at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. At U.C. Los Angeles she studied film and sculpture where her work was informed by cinematic and photographic logic. In 1967, she received her B.F.A. and M.A. degrees from U.C.L.A.
After graduating, she spent a year traveling and then returned to Los Angeles where she became an editorial assistant to architect Richard Neutra. Her interest in the material quality of light was reinforced by Neutra’s architecture. In 1973, her “Negative Light Extensions” explored the concrete potential of light, reflecting upon the meeting ground between architect and art.
Her breathtaking 1976 installation in the Panza Collection just outside Milan, Italy is a masterpiece of Light and Space art. In 1990, Nordman exhibited for the first time in New York using glass panels and still-life objects in her “Exhibition of Permanent Transience.” In 2011, she exhibited her 1967 “Filmwork: Smoke” as part of a retrospective of Los Angeles art at LACMA.
She has had recent solo shows in New York, Dresden, and Belgium. Nordman has refused connections to male artists who also participate in Light and Space art.