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Review:  Chicago Reader
Review: Chicago Reader

excerpts from Chicago Reader article "Diamonds in Rust" (March 22, 1996) by Fred Camper, (c) 1996:

"David R. Nelson's 27 new sculptures at Wood Street don't look like much at first: rusted wire mesh, an old canteen, forked pieces of wood, wooden blocks and boxes - familiar-looking found-object assemblages, though without the genre's flashy effects or easy jokes. But the more pieces I viewed, the more I was overcome by an unaccountable melancholy colored by feelings of removal, alienation, and absence."

"Almost any old, rusted artifact evokes some sort of nostalgia; but as I started to realize that Nelson fabricated most of these objects himself, my emotional response grew stronger and more precise. ... He transforms nostalgia from the vague, sloppy emotion it usually is into a far more pointed feeling. By handcrafting objects that at first seem artifacts from an earlier industrial era, then archaeological finds from a civilization that never was, and finally aesthetic objects made by an artist, Nelson distances himself from traditional artistic self-expression. Redefining his role as something in between cultural critic and anonymous artisan, Nelson locates the work's melancholy not in his own moods but in the state of our civilization." ...

(c) 1996 Fred Camper