Minneapolis-based painter Kelli Nelson’s paintings are on exhibit at Ecce Art Gallery through May 22. A Grand Forks native and alum of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Nelson currently teaches at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts.
Her paintings at Ecce vary in size from 12 x 9 to 72 x 48, with prices ranging from $500 to $4,400. All are oil on canvas, composed of overlapping lines, blurred borders, and merging shapes.
The abstract nature of Nelson’s work allows for varying interpretations. An example of this is “Gust.” Though the title suggests a brief blast of wind, the painting itself suggests something more forceful and malevolent. The green, pink, and white shapes toward the bottom of the canvas resemble the leaves and petals of flowers, while black brushstrokes smeared with white at the top suggest flowers caught in a whirlwind and their petals being torn away. The lack of transition between light and dark gives the impression of a sudden and jarring destructive force.
Another interpretation is that the black shapes at the top are falling to the bottom and becoming bright and vivid. From this perspective, the “Gust” is a benevolent force, sowing the seeds that will bloom into beautiful plant life.
Another possible contrast between title and content is “Wavering Descent,” a painting resembling a bouquet of red and pink roses. Although the bright colors and speckled patterns lend a lighthearted quality to it, the title connotes unsteadiness, decline, and deterioration, implying that appearances can be deceiving.
Some paintings, such as “The Fall,” appear more concise in what they represent. “The Fall” depicts what seems to be waterfall, with a mixture of white and blue adding dimension and giving the impression of plunging liquid motion. The rectangular masses framing the waterfall are a mix of black, brown, and green with white, blue, and purple shapes. Such combinations suggest stone cliffs adorned with colorful vegetation.
The title certainly matches the content in the case of “White Magic,” a rich and vibrant medley of colors dominated by white brushstrokes. The rippling pattern allows the eye to travel and find shapes and tinges not seen at first glance. Its tone is festive, jubilant, and reminiscent of confetti or feathers of colorful birds.
To see the rest of Kelli Nelson’s collection, stop by Ecce Art Gallery between now and May 22.
Ecce’s hours are 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday.