My paintings have always been about landscape. Over the years the work has changed, both in content and imagery. One series of paintings leads to another. A gradual refinement from vast panoramas to the specific. For the past six years my paintings have been based on gardens. Gardens are the “tended to” aspects of landscape. The space, the color, shape, texture, and space are key elements in landscape and in my work.
The primary influence of my work comes from a philosophy which suggests the primacy of a personal response and the interpretation rather than the copy of nature. The paintings straddle the line between abstraction and realism, what is seen and what is imagined. This sensibility, both aesthetically and philosophically, expressed in this duality of approaches is an interpretive, personal response to the visual world.
Fred Nelson’s paintings are human scale, intimate, contemplative, and poetic. He builds them through multiple layers of paint that resonate with the layers one finds in nature. Close examination reveals color subtly shining under or beside other unexpected color shapes, creating atmosphere, space, and light. In addition, the visual movement of the paintings echoes the way one physically moves through the landscape. Nelson’s paintings occupy that territory between recognizable imagery and abstraction, hovering back and forth, each quality strengthening the other.
Fred Nelson lives and maintains his studio in St. Louis. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Painting and Drawing and a residency at the Cite International des Arts in Paris. Nelson has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work is included in over 170 private collections and in the permanent collection of over 50 corporate and public institutions including the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington University School of Medicine, Bank of America, US Bank, Champion International, Cincinnati Bell, The Fort Smith Art Museum, the Four Seasons Hotel, Abu Dhabi and R.R. Donnelly International.