I am a 2018 MFA graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. I completed a post bac program at the University of Colorado Boulder (2015) and have a BFA in 3D Media from Pacific Lutheran University (2009).
I grew up in Montana in a place where people don’t often leave. My father is a Lutheran minister and my mother is a nurse: body and soul. All my life I've seen the human condition as a paradox. The studies of art, science, poetry and Daoism have been indispensable in my life and work.
All rights reserved.
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
— Joseph Campbell
Throughout history objects of contemplation testify to the human urge to have our inner desires fulfilled outwardly. Illuminated manuscripts, ‘ritual’ objects of stone from antiquity, and alchemical aspirations of achieving immortality through the transmutation of base metals evidence the human need to seek completion and transcendence by physical means — to attain spiritual effects from material catalysts.
Transcendent experiences are often rooted in a heightened sense of physicality: ornate patterning on prayer rugs, the spinning of whirling dervishes, brightly painted decorated pages, the touch of gold-tipped brush to parchment. Materials resonate with bodies and can amplify our perception of the physical basis of our lives. They can evoke immediate desire and sustained longing.
Reaching towards the rapture of being alive is at the heart of my artistic practice. My motivating questions involve fundament, the nature of the phenomenological world, the human experience, spirituality, transcendence, cultural and religious practices, and scientific study. I draw on sources that document the ways in which humans seek, and the language of poets.
Like poetry, my work uses physicality and form to point to what has none. My primary motivations are curiosity and awe. Materials have transcendent consequences.
Two like forms side by side embody magnetism. They are siblings, lovers, multiple aspects of a self, self and other, cells dividing and multiplying, branches of simultaneous potentiality. Longing is inherent. The symmetry and scale reflect bodies, faces, eyes, and psychological study.
Juxtaposition creates tension. Rigid geometric bars melt into pinkish soft ripples. A full volumetric, chrome-yellow limb flattens to an unglazed terra-cotta ‘shadow’. A room-sized garden of ruffled fabric hangs across from a photograph of itself being penetrated by an androgynous face about to bite into an apple. Object, image, and inhabitation become one another.
American culture separates body & mind, religion & politics, male & female, right & wrong, self & other, and on and on. Are any of these truly mutually exclusive? I work to recognize paradox and the spectrum of complexity between named categories.
by LIISA NELSON
Over and Over, Like I Did
I will never unimbibe like I did over
& over deal with the remains
Trust in no god everywhere
A brush drags across I will never unimbibe
Mallards mate for life clean clean the mark
Of your lines turned out missing it
Nothing happens for centuries
Read all the books become everything else
In the trees your dirty graphite deal
With the remains imaginary morning
The world your face make love
Where is the sameness
Like I did over & over
Counterpart letting go letting go
Sleep land around us what is gone?
Green red alive dead
Line blend long wait
Mallards mate for life green red
Over the edges what is it?
Crayon stuck in my
Mate for life
Pursue or home set my apple core down
(If I) walk backwards in a line will the years start over?
Over The dog your black eyes
We could build something
Green to black another duality
Fall back fall
You never finish all the milk
Work early I’ll get it later crumble into ourselves
Contentment how are you attained?
Mouths covered a pair quite give enough
Completion quite give enough obsession
My long hair reach out over and over I
Lover Letting completion two
Off on leaving supple ample
Held up down
Enough what you gave me what once
Your drawings smoke cigarettes sickening
Eating an apple broken longing
I’m gone our land Is this the stuff of centuries ?
Maybe it was always me apple always
Impatient skin fall take your with me ]
In or out or in out what is
Marriage? another you’re here you’re gone
Probably you would go red to black
Broth in your soup dragonfly green
Name the thing without saying it
When is it over a promise
I always why see you tomorrow
Love I turned over we apart for different reasons
Even though you want to
Your face in the morning
I want to be you probably
In the doorway your presence it’s over
Do anything to leave come home
Over still light obsessed myself I don’t
A perfect triangle
Other smoke in keep to yourself
Double double corpse eventually anyway
Myself I won’t you again
The milk is in the bowls
Lover, every lover
Under a leaf watching its curl loosen,
Spread over the elements my carbon offering redoubled
An unfastening extends to the waiting made of the greenest parts
I, Wearing your eyes as a garment, lay down like a baby
leaving out syllables of what I wanted for you in a daughter
The cry in your belly goes as a tonal shift, a spreading asymmetry.
It goes as coins the size of eyes into a deep fountain.
Now your ballast is in place I can finally say this:
I am a darkness dancer, sporting fine light-eating intricacies.
My hair is a mile long and dragging on the ocean floor\ the ground
Is becoming a whole wave and a grower of a dream of arrangements
Along a metal line imperceptible but
Re-become (as if to make a shift.) I talk
To my lover in the morning Love(r)
In the morning to let go of what is enough to
Make a change completely dissolve
Your skin —incarnate object— makes mine withdraw into something
I don’t recognize five phase key
Beneath reduced chrome crystals. In the chrysalis
The caterpillar completely dissolves before reforming
Into a new kind of creature
So slow one cannot see it moving even though it
Always is Rhythms bring observers
That blush of blood through your skin brings me
To see you unfurl foreign organ love(r)
In the morning- to let go
Half an hour before I’m awake but the south
Pole holds still and a builder of a dream
Of a forest and everything beneath
Us moves around it still smell the rain
And step back through the sloped window punch the fighting
Spiders to determine a winner collapse
Like a sea creature under the weight [wait] unscore
What has fallen out of this instrument rattle
Down this perspiring loop
If a Silent dancer can perform through Millennial bodies still
What more is possible (?) to love someone you’ve never met
Till now by looking in their eyes to swell into a massive space
dust again, weld the teeth to the ends of the fingertips, lay
Down like a baby, become overtaken by a swarm of peace.
Know something about love by moving slowly. love
Someone you’ve never met. look at their eyes.
Pour a pool of water onto the floor wash in it,
Like a desperate fish hold your lung in the palm
Of your hand
Hold a shell to the parts of your body you most wish
Could weep foreign organ weep with the body
You most wish you could embody remember
To breathe into your stomach your expansion will continue
To hold you you can trust this
Go down, origin tap, my particular emblem. As a body
how you watered me down when I slumped in dry dirt. I
bent under your wave particle pattern I was to fold under
white-tipped sacrament (My waist bends in many directions.
My knees and ankles and neck also bend)
Could I exorcise nostalgia? Time is a trumpeter, wounding tyrant
(brash mean queen) Universe, you have wrecked us, you
did it over and over Universe thaw and return arbiter
of one-last-tries selves mender,
Her fluid lines are amassing clusters, her rush slowed —the tunnels
that play the old rush-rhythm, scared of the day, and, yes, they
will turn off. Gush give up. Dammed river, log-tied flow strike
Aliveness discharge. I can see that star-built organ pounding in your
neck, the artery slightly flicking in horizontal light —it casts its own little \
sideways shadow. Who will be my surrogate when you leave?
I follow it, but cannot see its back. Deliverer, my other, stay.