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Brian Lee Nelson

officeSculpture studio
office hours

Winter, 2018:

Mondays & Wednesdays: 10:30-11:45 (Open)

Thursdays: 12:00-4:00 (Open)

Fridays: 10:00-2:00 (on-line)

personal website


Brian Nelson was born in Coldwater, Michigan. He received a BFA in Sculpture from Western Michigan University in 1989 and a MFA in Sculpture from Michigan State University in 1995. He began teaching at EMU in 2000.

Artist Statement


My sculptures are an amalgamation of my interest in biology, sociology, chemistry, and the nature of time. These investigations relate to my personal experiences with genetics, pharmacology and their commercial industries. These three-dimensional renderings of objects are created from molecular ball structure images found on websites like Wikipedia and Google.

I have been using software to render these image models. I then project the images to scale to make a rough blueprint of the sculpture and form in three dimensions. These structures are then fabricated from cast bronze, stainless steel and tubing. As a sculptor, welder and fabricator these sculptures have become the most complicated pieces I have created. I hope to lead the viewer to question the nature of the object, and the how and why it exists.

This series of sculptures entitled “Adverse Effects Include” is an autobiographic representation of a 21 year history of a relationship with pharmacology and my attempt to understand it’s effects on creativity. The three dimensional object becomes a Macroscopic representation of a model that happens to microscopically and physiologically control or alter human behavior.

I feel that there are several directions in which these works connect with an audience. On an aesthetic level, I believe people are drawn to the works through the dichotomy of the combinations of traditional cast bronze and polished stainless steel and the execution or complexity of the craft. On a conceptual level I believe there is a powerful understanding of the intrigue and ambiguity about the nature, use and affects of these medications.

My intentions are to produce work that has a conceptual framework that will embrace ideas, and engage the viewer. My work has been called cold and impersonal or distant. Nothing could be further from the truth. My work is blatantly honest and extremely personal. Materials and objects don’t tell the entire story in my work. I am investigating and describing an obscure, subtle science and this experience is entirely my own story.

“You wish that people would tell the one true story – and that’s enough – just
tell the one true story”
Francis Bacon