international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Lori Nelson
Brooklyn, New York


page 125


The gesture behind a painting often interests me as much or more than the work itself.  When I look at paintings in a gallery, I sometimes wait for the moment when Security decides I'm not a risk and shifts attention or, better, pays no attention at all.  In this moment, I can freely become intimate with a piece.  Up, very close, while also trying to detect any residual paint or solvent scent on a painting, I examine the work of the work.  I love to see the human hand of the artist, the drawing behind the paint.  In a world where visual art is so often filtered through electronic media, I actually feel excited to see pencil marks and brush hairs on the surface of a picture.  The private story of the "making" can be revealed up-close.  The problem areas, the rethinking, the undoing, the scribbled thought?  Gold for me.

In my work, I've decided to let my drawing live not just behind but also on top of my paintings.  I love the freshness, the action, the discovery of the act of drawing and I don't want to bury this.  For some reason, in my early painting years, I made a point of covering the graphite marks, a point of hiding my indecision and process.  I had the idea that a painting should appear to have sprung fully-formed from the artist's forehead.  One spring however, when, frustrated, I grabbed the nearest graphite to punish a problematic painting by drawing upon the dried paint almost hoping to teach it a lesson, teach it how to behave in swift decisive strokes, I taught myself a lesson: the drawing can be part of the painting.  The strokes differ.  They deserve to be released from behind and to live with the paint on top.

The thinking behind the subject matter of my narrative work is similar.  The gesture behind the moment, the almost hidden desperate idea, live like private information on an otherwise pretty surface.  Never quickly obvious, the action and sub-action exist in a dependent way.


born:1968, Ft. Collins, Colorado


University of Utah, BFA, 1993

selected awards/honors

Utah Arts Council NEA Grant, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001

selected publications

NPR's Planet Money Blog, January, 2010
Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, "Painted Beast and Sculpted Torso", Oct. 2009
Foliate Oak Literary Journal, University of Montana, March, 2009
Consulting News Online-Artbreak, Interview, January, 2007

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Phillips Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009
Brenda Taylor Gallery, New York City, 2008

selected group shows

Broadway Gallery: Urban Gardens, NYC, 2009
Estel Gallery: Be a Doll, Nashville, TN, 2009
The Lab at Belmar: Failure, Denver, CO  2008
Washington Square Gallery: Small Works, NYC  2007

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