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2nd Floor Gallery Opening: Dan Tran and Dirk Nelson

  • Austin ArtWorks Center 300 N Main Street North Austin, MN, 55912 United States (map)

Grand opening of two gallery exhibits: Dan Tran and Dirk Nelson

The exhibit will remain on display through July 7th and can be viewed during ArtWorks Center hours, Tue-Fri 10am-5pm and Sat 10am-3pm.

Dan Tran

Introduction to Series Plato In the series Plato, I explore visually the structure of concepts – a process Rudolph Arnheim terms “Visual Thinking" and Nelson Goodman expounds on in The Language of Art:An Approach to A Theory of Symbols. To reveal the world of concepts by the sparest of means, I need a simple vocabulary and syntax. Thus I limit the set of my buildings blocks to bars and sticks. The bars, due to their simple but robust shapes and forms, may represent any phenomenon in the perceived world. With color and texture, I may divulge a bit about the inner characteristics of the phenomenon itself. For instance, in The Human Condition, the roughened, patchy, yellow-moldy black surface of the top bar is intended to suggest the perceived time-battered state of the human soul. By linking phenomena in a certain way, we form concepts of the world in endless attempts to make sense of it. Thus the bars are not shown in isolation. It is through their spatial positioning, through the stick-by-stick linkage, that I establish the relationship between them, a process that allows the underlying concept to emerge. Thus in Escape from Karma, the string of sticks laid out in a vortex and linking two bars at the bottom half of the picture encapsulates the concept of circular cause-and-effect, of reincarnation. The top vortex links however no bars, and thus denotes freedom from karma. Basically, a phenomenon by itself can never completely render a concept. There is no such thing as a “mad phenomenon” in and by itself.  It is when our mind sees two or more phenomena as being engaged in an incongruent, conflict-fraught relationship that the concept of “madness” arises. By deploying sticks in an infinite number of twists and turns, by linking and de-linking bars of various textures, I seek to compose pictorially the relationships inherent in concepts. Unlike the abstract expressionists, the only emotion I wish to bring forth is the cool Eureka feeling that accompanies the discovery that something complex can be rendered simple - as in a mathematical equation.

Introduction to Series Plato

In the series Plato, I explore visually the structure of concepts – a process Rudolph Arnheim terms “Visual Thinking" and Nelson Goodman expounds on in The Language of Art:An Approach to A Theory of Symbols.

To reveal the world of concepts by the sparest of means, I need a simple vocabulary and syntax. Thus I limit the set of my buildings blocks to bars and sticks.

The bars, due to their simple but robust shapes and forms, may represent any phenomenon in the perceived world. With color and texture, I may divulge a bit about the inner characteristics of the phenomenon itself. For instance, in The Human Condition, the roughened, patchy, yellow-moldy black surface of the top bar is intended to suggest the perceived time-battered state of the human soul.

By linking phenomena in a certain way, we form concepts of the world in endless attempts to make sense of it. Thus the bars are not shown in isolation. It is through their spatial positioning, through the stick-by-stick linkage, that I establish the relationship between them, a process that allows the underlying concept to emerge. Thus in Escape from Karma, the string of sticks laid out in a vortex and linking two bars at the bottom half of the picture encapsulates the concept of circular cause-and-effect, of reincarnation. The top vortex links however no bars, and thus denotes freedom from karma.

Basically, a phenomenon by itself can never completely render a concept. There is no such thing as a “mad phenomenon” in and by itself.  It is when our mind sees two or more phenomena as being engaged in an incongruent, conflict-fraught relationship that the concept of “madness” arises.

By deploying sticks in an infinite number of twists and turns, by linking and de-linking bars of various textures, I seek to compose pictorially the relationships inherent in concepts.

Unlike the abstract expressionists, the only emotion I wish to bring forth is the cool Eureka feeling that accompanies the discovery that something complex can be rendered simple - as in a mathematical equation.

Dirk Nelson

Dirk Nelson grew up in Austin, MN and graduated from Winona State University with a BA in Fine Art. Jobs took him to Texas and Colorado and finally back to Minnesota. He has settled in Winona for the time being and became a volunteer at the Winona Arts Center. In the summer of 2014 he helped to establish RiverBed Press when the Arts Center purchased a 24” x 48” Conrad etching press. There he started exploring the process of making monoprints. Monoprints can be one of the most immediate and versatile forms of printmaking. The most common method of making a monoprint is to create a design using printing inks on a thin flat plate, then place a piece of paper on the plate and run the combination through a press to transfer the design to the paper. Nelson uses an acrylic sheet for the plate and water-mixable etching inks that have the consistency of artist’s oil paints. He applies the ink to the plate in a number of ways, using brayers, palette knives, paint brushes, and stencils. The method Nelson has been exploring lately employs the use of stencils. The stencils can be used multiple times on the same plate. Applying a different color each time the stencil is used can produce a layered effect and add depth and atmosphere to the image. The stencils can also be reversed to make the images similar yet curiously different. Nelson experiments with stencil materials that are difficult to control because the resulting accidents, wrinkles, and tears in the materials may create unexpected effects and often suggest different aspects of the image to explore; for instance, a wrinkle in the material could turn a fish into a bird and take the image into a whole different realm. His work is process oriented which means that the viewer can often see tell-tale evidence of the tools and materials that he works with. As each person’s personality is formed by the random accidents and encounter’s in their life, Nelson uses the random accidents and mistakes that arise from the use of materials and tools to add character and meaning to his images. Nelson discusses this process saying, “My work encourages a dialog between the image and the viewer and if the accidents and mistakes that I cultivate in my process can suggest different meanings to different viewers, well I enjoy it when the conversation takes a surprising turn.” Nelson’s work almost always deals with the human figure. There is usually minimal detail and the depictions focus on the form and structure of the body, often simplified and stylized. The figure functions more as symbol than portrait. Nelson hopes this allows viewers to envision conditions in their own lives that they can identify with and react to. Nelson will demonstrate some of his methods during the artists reception at Austin Artworks Center, 300 North Main Street, on Friday, May 19, at 6:00 pm.

Dirk Nelson grew up in Austin, MN and graduated from Winona State University with a BA in Fine Art. Jobs took him to Texas and Colorado and finally back to Minnesota. He has settled in Winona for the time being and became a volunteer at the Winona Arts Center. In the summer of 2014 he helped to establish RiverBed Press when the Arts Center purchased a 24” x 48” Conrad etching press. There he started exploring the process of making monoprints.

Monoprints can be one of the most immediate and versatile forms of printmaking. The most common method of making a monoprint is to create a design using printing inks on a thin flat plate, then place a piece of paper on the plate and run the combination through a press to transfer the design to the paper. Nelson uses an acrylic sheet for the plate and water-mixable etching inks that have the consistency of artist’s oil paints. He applies the ink to the plate in a number of ways, using brayers, palette knives, paint brushes, and stencils.

The method Nelson has been exploring lately employs the use of stencils. The stencils can be used multiple times on the same plate. Applying a different color each time the stencil is used can produce a layered effect and add depth and atmosphere to the image. The stencils can also be reversed to make the images similar yet curiously different.

Nelson experiments with stencil materials that are difficult to control because the resulting accidents, wrinkles, and tears in the materials may create unexpected effects and often suggest different aspects of the image to explore; for instance, a wrinkle in the material could turn a fish into a bird and take the image into a whole different realm. His work is process oriented which means that the viewer can often see tell-tale evidence of the tools and materials that he works with. As each person’s personality is formed by the random accidents and encounter’s in their life, Nelson uses the random accidents and mistakes that arise from the use of materials and tools to add character and meaning to his images.

Nelson discusses this process saying, “My work encourages a dialog between the image and the viewer and if the accidents and mistakes that I cultivate in my process can suggest different meanings to different viewers, well I enjoy it when the conversation takes a surprising turn.”

Nelson’s work almost always deals with the human figure. There is usually minimal detail and the depictions focus on the form and structure of the body, often simplified and stylized. The figure functions more as symbol than portrait. Nelson hopes this allows viewers to envision conditions in their own lives that they can identify with and react to.

Nelson will demonstrate some of his methods during the artists reception at Austin Artworks Center, 300 North Main Street, on Friday, May 19, at 6:00 pm.