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University of Connecticut University Libraries


March 16 - May 15, 2009

Choices, an installation by artist Randall Nelson, 2005

"Choices" by Randall Nelson, 2005


Connecticut Wilderness: Sculpture and Mixed Media Installations by Randall Nelson

Homer Babbidge Library Stevens Gallery and West Alcove
Curators: Laura Smith and David Avery

“Connecticut Wilderness,” says Randall Nelson, “is an oxymoron that refers to the sense of confusion and ambiguity that prevails in our lives, and that I try to portray in my artwork through multi-layered meanings and unusual visual imagery.”

Nelson’s early work was as a wood carver, combining finely crafted wood objects with other materials. In recent years, his artwork has become more personal and more overtly political. But regardless of the subject, there is always an element of humor in the work.

Ten of the fifteen pieces in this show are recent. “In some ways,” Randall says, “these new pieces are more difficult to create than my carved pieces. Many of them deal with abstract or social concepts--world hunger, morality, family obligations, guilt and personal responsibility--that would be almost impossible to do as woodcarvings.”

"Such ideas are a challenge to convey, as they don’t lend themselves easily to a visual interpretation or production as art. I now find that I often spend more time thinking about and designing a piece than in the actual production of it.”

Randall Nelson holds a BFA in sculpture and printmaking from Pratt Institute and an MFA in visual art from Vermont College for the Arts. He served a five-year apprenticeship from 1974 to 1978 with Toshio Odate, master woodworker, sculptor and author. He has taught at UConn’s School of Fine Arts, Hartford Art School, Manchester Community College and Farmington Valley Art Center, and was twice awarded an Artist's Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. His home and studio are in Willington, Connecticut.