Cate Nelson

Artist Statement

I am interested in imagining alternate realities wherein the psychological implications of our relationships to place, objects, and each other collide in unsettling ways. I grew up in an old house, filled with untouchable things. When the TV antenna blew up, it was never replaced, so I spent my childhood inventing imaginary friends and places. These influences have helped shape my methodology. I combine modern technologies with traditional technique, resulting in works that speak to both history and contemporary culture.

Collage, drawing, arrangement, and storytelling, are all modes by which I discover and elicit new imagery. My paintings use contrasting styles, patterns, and symbolism to create tension. Current experiments have pushed my painting into an expanded field where multiple works can exist in dialogue, creating a call and response. I have begun to utilize sculpture and printmaking in tandem with my paintings to create complex installations where diverse media share a democratic space.

While At Headlands

While at Headlands I plan to continue playing with imagery that juxtaposes interior and exterior landscapes, but with a bent toward contemporary culture, pop, politics, and alternate realities. The current political environment, influences of social media, personal versus public space, and climate change have been on the forefront of my mind. These new works aim to touch on what has always been there, but also imagine what might come. I think the history and nature found at Headlands will set the stage for not only focus, but also serendipity in the studio.

Above: Cate Nelson, Max Flux Floral (installation view), 2016; 2 paintings, 6 mirrors, hand-printed wallpaper, 2 plaster sculptures, Astroturf; 6 x 6 x 9 ft.; © Cate Nelson, photo by Dan Nelson