P A T H S, a new series of drawings and sculpture by emerging Seattle artist David Andrew Nelson. Combining traditional methods of assemblage, drawing, and painting alongside the use of a programmed plotter machine, Nelson playfully reframes formal aesthetics through his mixed-media constructions. His minimal, architectural sculptures are built with fluorescent tubes, unfinished wood, and exposed cords — ordinary materials placed in a highly aesthetic context. In his drawings, he employs digital tools that rely on calculation rather than expression, exploiting the unknown variables of working with a machine prone to leaving scattered ink artifacts across the paper. These thick, dark lines lay atop an expressive and colorful painting, each plotted mark and color field giving structure to the other.
To compose these sigil-like formations, Nelson alters a word, phrase, or concept into an abstracted series of shapes, provoking a deeper read or extraction of ideas and information. Each further alteration paves the way to new questions for both artist and viewer, shifting the process of artmaking into a pursuit of philosophical inquiry. For P A T H S, this inquiry takes form in drawings, objects, and installation; each piece engaging our interaction differently depending on our approach. The amorphous, unknown nature of the question is left to our own choosing, and internal reflection.
Nelson’s easily translated aesthetic choices and intuitive conceptual processes allow the objects to work with, rather than against, the viewer's knowledge or background in visual art histories. Each are encouraged to explore their experience and thoughts as valuable participants in a meaningful conversation between artist and audience. Through the playfulness and beauty of Nelson’s creations, we are each invited to participate and enjoy the work for what it is — a joyful exploration of structure, light, form, and color.
- Sharon Arnold