Photo Series ‘Work in Progress’ Transforms Ordinary Things into Abstract Creations

Paper napkins
Paper napkins

The most mundane, ordinary things, when in the hands of an imaginative artist can turn into quite remarkable, abstract creations. Photographer Nick Albertson‘s choice of subject matter couldn’t be more commonplace. Rubber bands, straws, napkins, paper plates and other household items will all transform into artistic formations, once Albertson is done with them. Purchased in bulk, he arranges these everyday objects in recurring patterns, obscuring the items as individual pieces, but as a collective whole, transform into credible abstract images.


The series is called Work in Progress, and Albertson says that his objective is to “strip utilitarian objects of their functions, repurposing them to create visceral experiences.” Doing this he is able to create a “powerful aesthetic impact” for the viewer. Other materials he uses to express his concept are drinking straws, toilet paper, masking tape, sandwich bags, paper clips and hangers. The patterns, shapes, and forms he creates with these everyday bits and stuff are absolutely misleading in their finished, abstract aesthetic.

Masking Tape
Masking tape

Albertson writes of this concept that drives Work in Progress on his website,

“Rubber bands, plastic straws, paper napkins, and other various everyday household items are the basis of my artistic practice. …The tension between the inherent uniformity of the mass-produced everyday materials I engage with and my subsequent arrangement of them drives my practice. My photographs, videos and sculptures borrow from the tradition of the Readymade as well as from the exalted subjectivity of Modernist painting and sculptures.”

sandwich bags
Sandwich bags

Nick Albertson acquired his MFA in Photography from the Columbia College Chicago. He earned his BA in Photography from Bard College in 2006. Albertson’s work has been exhibited in Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and New York as well as at international events such as the Pingyao International Photo Festival. Albertsons pilot solo show is planned to be at Aspect Ratio Projects in Chicago in early 2014.


Visit his website and see Work in Progress along with his other works.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.