David Nelson


One of David Nelson's main interests is the idea of agency — for something to come into being by letting other forces be the agent doing it. Nelson's goal is to create his artwork indirectly and to allow other forces to have their way. He tightly controls something which he has no control over. Or, he is taking a precise system and letting chance or disruption occur. Nelson makes art that makes itself. 

To emphasize this principle, Nelson has used only primary colors: red, yellow, blue, and black, (or the print version, cyan, magenta, yellow and black) which forces the viewer's eye to mix the color. Sometimes the image was controlled by a random number grid ("God's Appointment Book"), or scattered objects like ping pong balls ("Swarm"), or plastic shopping bags ("Consumed"). In his series, "Past Imperfect" and "Incarnations," Nelson takes the accurate, mechanical process of photography, then makes the CMYK color separation so coarse as to lose accuracy. He then paints the grid of dots by hand with a ketchup squirter. When we relinquish control rather than grasp it, what's lost? What's gained? In his new series, "Photographs of Sculpture about Painting", Nelson explores a mutual cooperation with a new medium and discovers its ideas and aesthetic while developing his own. Interested in transparent color and optical color mixing, Nelson uses caulk as his medium and colors it with various pigments and dyes. He dispenses the caulk onto a slick plastic sheet, waits for it to it to cure, peels it up and places it on a plexiglass sheet to photograph it very close up. 

Nelson received his BA in Fine Art from the University of Maine. His artwork has been exhibited regionally in solo and group shows. He has attended artist’s residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT, and Konstepdemin in Gothenburg Sweden. Nelson was also awarded the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts Entrepreneurial Grant in 2010.