Robert Nelson | Dialogs with the Future

Brainworks Gallery

Apr. 1, 2024 - Apr. 29, 2017

5364 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90019

Brainworks Gallery is pleased to present Dialogs with the Future. An exhibition of paintings by San Diego based artist, Robert Nelson.

Robert Nelson’s hyper-real/surreal works are concerned with dichotomies: innocence/corruption, the infinite/the finite, past/future, good/evil. His works are bombastic examples of an artist who is at ease layering wide areas of flat color with illustrative drawing that shows-off his technical skills and knowledge of the history of art.

In a recent series entitled Dialogs with the Future, he juxtaposes images culled from different sources to explore the relationship between the world today and an imagined future. Each panel consists of a sequence of realistically rendered interlocking “thought bubbles” portraying the characters in his invented narrative against a black ground. He begins by outlining simple shapes in bright bold colors that are then filled in by patterns and silhouettes and later drawn upon in an illustrative style.

Using elements from art history and popular culture he fuses the serious with the humorous creating evocative, challenging and sometimes disturbing works. In Dialogs with the Future 4, a rendering of an enlarged Venus of Willendorf sits on a children’s pool floater in the shape of a friendly sea monster, floating in a sea of green dots. This thought bubble emanates from a blue angel adjacent to an image of a wooden airplane that hovers above a brown planet. From the toy pilot comes another thought bubble in which two Putti aim arrows toward the blow-up sea animal.

Each of the five works that comprise Nelson’s Dialogs with the Future are equally full of uncanny juxtapositions of unrelated elements that create compelling narratives that intertwine elements of good and evil. Nelson’s worldview is presented as a series of fragments that the viewer can connect in their mind, arriving at their own conclusions. His paintings are catalysts for thought about how the past influenced the present, and how the present can challenge and hopefully change the future.

Nelson studied Fine Art/Studio Art in college. Before finishing college he joined the US Navy from which he retired. After the Navy he attended Platt College in San Diego where he studied Graphic Design and Multimedia Design. He worked as a Graphic Designer for over fifteen years and for the last eight has been working seriously as an artist. His works have been included in exhibitions since 2008 in San Diego and Los Angeles. Among the galleries where he has exhibited are The Los Angeles Art Association / Gallery 825, Los Angeles (2015, 2014, 2013), Southwest College Art Gallery, Chula Vista (2016), Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa (2015), Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica (2008).

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