"Under Glow"



Larry Nelson

Visual Artist



You can call me Larry.

My art deals with the accelerating rate of change in our contemporary world. Recycling materials and memories my work is out of and about modern life. It documents the dynamic relationships of individuals to their environments and societies. It is a testament to multiple realities coexisting. I find the ordinary to be extraordinary when we pay attention.


A New Jersey high school photography classroom was next to the art room. To my dyslexic mind the lines between painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography were blurry. A.P. art class went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Picasso and Braque Cubist exhibit was three fourths of the museum. Thus inspired I invented my own new art form called “Sculpture Painting.” Showing my artwork at Portfolio Day at Pratt in NYC, one door opened for me at S.A.I.C. (School of Art, Institute of Chicago).


Transplanted to the windy city I was smug and naive. Our Art History class was assigned to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and write a paper on the exhibit. Shock set in like for early North Pole explorers reaching the pole to find other people’s flags. Whoever Robert Rauschenberg was, he made a ton of sculpture paintings over 40 years earlier. He called his “Combines.” If not original then at least I was in good company. I then began painting and drawing from life. Learning formal observational painting, I wanted to merge life painting with my free form mixed media mentality.


As far from home as I could be: Asia, Taiwan R.O.C. I reinvented myself as an artist, language teacher and student of life. The Palace Museum of Taipei has a fantastic collection of Chinese landscape paintings. Chinese Scholar Painters were interdisciplinary artists who hundreds of years B.C. combined painting, calligraphy and poetry. They often worked from memory, depicted multiple perspectives, and painted themselves into the paintings. Humans in relationship to their environments are seen as tiny. The essence of the painter’s entire experience in landscape is translated into scroll paintings.

1996 - 2008

Back home, propelled by culture shock I wanted to combine eastern and western ways of painting. Amtrak took me to the Twin Cities on the upper banks of the Mississippi. Ten years and several jobs later I’ve earned my MFA from the U of MN, gotten married, bought a house and keep a studio to create and teach art. Out here I find more space and time to make art while keeping up with modern life.

As an artist I come at life thinking in stages, connecting different realities to expand the way I see. The resulting art is expressive and conceptual, contemporary and traditional. I work in many ways: Painting, Drawing, Photography, Video, Collage, and Audio Recording. The subjects grow as they transfer from medium to medium. By juxtaposing media, the artworks are multifaceted like the world they are pulled from. Lately the inquiry starts at my feet.

Fly Eye art is my latest endeavor. It is the culmination of eighteen years of mixing mediums. They are combinations of observational paintings with photography, and collage. The photos are panoramic views squared. Thirty five photos fit together revealing a total field of vision including the periphery. These mixed media paintings become postindustrial mandalas, meditations on contemporary realities. It is grounding to start each Fly Eye feet front and center. Including myself in my work is like anthropologist including themselves in their ethnographical research. They are invitations to stop, look, and listen to life as its happening.