James Nielsen (b. 1989) is unafraid to spend weeks working on an art piece involving multiple steps. This is a mature approach for such a young artist, but Nielsen has the patience and foresight to let the layers accumulate. It is this layering that defines his art practice.
Nielsen’s abstract paintings and drawings use layers of different media, and of marks. A typical piece may consist of an initial broad wash of acrylic, then a layer of loose graphite marks or painted grids, followed by a final coating of inks or acrylics daubed on or applied in smooth gestural strokes. The effect of the completed work makes the viewer an archeologist, uncovering each stage of the piece’s creation in progression from the newest strata on the surface, down through the successive levels, to its original, earliest layer. But his works aren’t merely rigid accretions; they move and flow, reveal hidden snatches of their mysterious past, and tease the eye into creating organic forms from the fluid abstractions.