S t e v e   N e l s o n




Steve Nelson was born and raised in a Minnesota farm community, and received his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After ten years of group shows and competitions, he had a two person show at the now defunct Gasperi Gallery in New Orleans, LA, then dropped out of the art scene shortly thereafter. He took a dream workshop in 1994 and for the next six years attended regular sessions of dream therapy using the Senoi Method of interpretation. Nelson is currently living in Philadelphia, where he works as a secretary in the educational system while continuing his inner work.

Artist's Statement

I have always been an avid dreamer and seeker, a follower of the unconscious. These paintings contain images and themes taken from my dreams. I use a process of active imagination that gives me permission and freedom to play and create a dialogue. The resulting images become maps that delineate the geography of my inner experience -- visions of myself, often isolated, stiff and uneasy, splitting and splintering off into fanciful scenarios. They take on the wild imagination of a child, caught telling a lie, fully denying what is blatant and obvious, inviting the viewer to peer into this confusing off-limits presentation of my own tragic comedy whose reality is too sobering and confrontational for me to face in any direct and undiluted manner.

In creating the image of "Cotton Mouth," many dreams became embedded and packed in. A dream of a straight-jacketed figure is followed by one of being scantily dressed in tight tights, camouflage panties and army boots. In "Splice/Graft," the dominant theme comes from a dream of trees bearing enormous Alice in Wonderland-like fruit the color of lemons and limes. I make an exaggerated attempt to graft or splice the two by tying pieces of the opposing fruit on the branch of the other.

This process, which I call "active imagination," is guided by its own rules. The dream touches off the vision, that image which the imagination carries on, attempting to find resolution. I work until a painting feels settled or I'm just exhausted with it. It is a process of giving up to rather than controlling.


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2002 ASD Dream Art Exhibition

19th Annual International Conference for the Association for the Study of Dreams
June 15 - 19, 2002
at Tufts University, Medford, Boston, Massachusetts

- 2002 -
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