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Paintings Gallery

Experience being varied, we expect the same differentiation and surprise in each of Nelson's portraits even though they comprise a serial devotion of the self that most have characterized as "obsessive." Formal deviations of background color, flesh tone, paint texture, or their placement in geometric patterns on the wall or clusters on the floor are not enough to express the unpredictability of everyday life, the ease with which it waylays the best intentions. And Nelson's intentions are affirmative, offering himself up as an example of honest compulsion, an instinctive drive to question the surface of things, the camouflaged emotions that the face, at rest, otherwise hides. Though he administers these formal nuances, we never come to rely on them. Instead, Nelson coaxes a sense of anticipation of a mood we instinctively know to possess, yet require his indexical headshots to remind us of its contours.
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