FP Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening reception for “Weird, Weird West”, a solo exhibition featuring recent works by John Randall Nelson, an Arizona-based painter and sculptor. Nelson’s works are layered with his own personal language consisting of patterns, symbols, and archetypes that may not make any literal sense but play on subconscious associations while suggesting a metaphor for the tension and anxiety of the times.
“Weird, Weird West references the iconic theme of the Wild West, where regional icons Jackrabbits, raindrops, Peyote buttons and Narco hip-hop are the obvious subject matter. The Western frontier was once viewed as the borderland between the known and the unknown, the lucid and the obscure… cue the Sun, but not in a good way. In a region where the landscape resembles a parched wasteland that stretches from horizon to horizon, it is shade that is sacred. The summer sun appears to fill the entire sky, on its own, and we keep marching forward moaning, ‘water, water…' ''
- John Randall Nelson
Nelson received his MFA from Arizona State University in 1995, after which he began to mold his distinct artistic style. During the past twenty years Nelson has been exhibiting in the West, he has become one of the region's most recognizable artists. His paintings are thick with poured pigment, saturated washes and worked with layers of drawing and collage. The work’s strength lies in the terrain between the narrative and the abstract, between what is immediately accessible and what remains obscure.
Best known for taking simple, bold, instantly recognizable images of everyday symbols and imbibing them with a sense of theatre, Nelson's Art has been exhibited both nationally and abroad. He has completed commissions for clients as diverse as the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Postal Service, and the BIO5 / Institute for Bio-Research at the University of Arizona. He is currently finishing a large-scale public art sculpture commissioned by the city of Phoenix.
With their unique aesthetic and discernment, his paintings have the rare ability to appeal to sophisticated curators and collectors, and still fascinate the general public. His work is especially appreciated by the most discriminating audience of all, other artists. Profuse with signs and heavy with ambiguity, the works rejoice in materiality. These are objects, part of the sensual world.
John Randall Nelson has work in the permanent collections of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe AZ among other prominent public and private collections, including the collections of musicians Danny Elfman and John Legend. He is sought by both blue chip collectors and emerging collectors alike.
Nelson began his career as a public artist with Harry Above the Crowd, a 35-foot sculpture commissioned by the City of Tempe. Since then, he has designed and produced over 15 public art projects. Apart from his visual art career, John Randall Nelson is currently an adjunct professor of painting and drawing at Phoenix College in Arizona and also plays in the noise band Bucky’s Experimental Instrumentations.
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