This series of works has been heavily influenced by observations made while residing in the Great Plains and literary strategies. The importance of living in the Great Plains appears in my works as an openness of composition or the isolation of subject matter. There is a tremendous amount of openness in the North Dakota landscape, one becomes acutely aware space, and the things that are present take on greater meaning because of the isolation. The drawings are intentionally spare, often consisting of one or two objects rendered in ink wash with large amounts of white space remaining. The location or setting is unassuming, creating a focus on the action, event, characters and absence of place.
In addition to living in North Dakota, my work is influenced by books and writings. The literary strategy of in medias res or “in the middle of things” has proven very influential. The phrase describes the practice of starting a story in the middle or at the end then piecing together the beginning of the story through flashbacks or recollections. Numerous books and films implement this style of storytelling in which the chronology is disrupted. While my compositions intentionally negate a clear narrative by reducing the visual information to a single moment, the drawings appear as though they are a small part of a larger storyline. My works function as illustrations for absent stories, leaving the viewer to piece together the “how?” and “why?” from the residual visible information.
Artist Bio / CV
Jennifer Nelson graduated from Minnesota State University – Mankato with a BS degree in Biology in 1996 and in 2000 received a MA in Painting from the same institution. In 2002 Nelson graduated from the University of North Dakota with a MFA in painting and drawing. Nelson has been featured in solo exhibitions in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana and has been included in numerous group exhibitions throughout the country. In addition to her many exhibitions she has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Jentel Artist’s Residency in Banner, Wyoming. Nelson currently lives in Grand Forks, ND where she teaches drawing as an adjunct instructor at the University of North Dakota.