Nathan Sandberg brings his “Tally” installation to the Portland Building, 2/18 – 3/15

Project Background: Artist Nathan Sandberg has developed a fascination with the repetitive nature of modern life. This fascination began when he started thinking about ways to mark the time he spent performing life’s everyday rote mechanical tasks—putting on socks, brushing teeth, walking out the front door. To both curse and honor the extraordinary amount of time we humans spend on these mundane tasks Sandberg created an installation that pays homage to them.

“The number of times I find myself performing a task as mundane as reaching for my keys or traveling the same routes to and from work is perplexing. As I make these trips I observe others doing the exact same thing and I often wonder if they realize, as I now do, how much time they spend on these tasks. … Time can be recorded as notches on a stick, rings within a tree trunk and ticks on a circle. In Tally I attempt to document the occurrence of a repeated activity that has developed into a routine. The Portland Building is a place of nearly constant business that swells with people on a daily basis, and empties at night. This constant flow of people, goods and information makes the site a superior location for an installation examining and recording time.”

Sandberg’s installation presents the viewer with a wall of large task-marking talismans, or “counting units,” their shape and form inspired by the grade stakes used on construction sites to indicate the rise and fall of elevation. Each stake or counting unit is beautifully crafted by the artist in kiln-cast yellow glass or naturally colored concrete and hung on heat formed steel rings with wrought iron hooks. These unique and enigmatic markers offer a caution to those tempted to trivialize the mundane and allow passers-by to pause and consider the magnitude of their daily unconscious acts.

About the Artist: Nathan Sandberg lives in Portland, Oregon. As well as maintaining an active studio practice he is an Instructor and Technician at the Bullseye Glass Company in NW Portland and has worked as both a production and demonstration Glassblower. Sandberg received his BFA in Glass and Ceramics from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.

Viewing Hours & Location: 7 am to 6 pm, Monday – Friday. The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland.

For more information on the Portland Building Installation Space series including images, proposals and statements for all the installations since 1994, go to