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 Walter W. Nelson  (1942 - )

About: Walter W. Nelson


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Lived/Active: Texas/New Mexico      Known for: commercial photography, painting, sculpture, educator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Artist Statements:

I began my photography career in Houston, Texas in 1967 applying my creative vision in the commercial industry.  In 1979 I moved to New York City, continuing my commercial endeavors and where upon I begin my journey into the arts.   While in New York, I begin experimenting with pastels and gesso on paper, placing flowers and fabric in front of the pastel backgrounds and photographing them.  This eventually led into the Fleur I series, a portfolio of 10 dye transfer prints.  Fleur I started in NY, worked on in Santa Fe, and was completed in Dallas, TX. Also while in NY I began my entry into B&W fine art photography.

In 1982 I moved to Santa Fe, searching for my unique visions into B&W photography, be it landscape or still life, combined with the development of the fine art image. An inward search of expression that one has to experience to be able to find the path to travel on. I also continued my visions of combining colored backgrounds and sculpture with the end result being the photograph.

In 1984 I moved to Dallas, TX., acquired a 6000 sq ft studio and continued my work both in the fine arts and again in commercial work. While in Dallas, I began experimenting with mixed medium painting, sculptured relief backgrounds, combined with photography.  Also while in Dallas, I traveled to Australia for Neiman Marcus to photography for their last Fort Nights Exhibit.  While in Australia, I absorbed the myths of the Aboriginal people.  From this journey came forth "Dream Time", a portfolio of 9 dye transfer images. [(Reflection back to a small painting I saw in the Metropolitan Museum in NY, in 1980, of an artist painting his self portrait, the quote was "FROM THE WITHOUT, TO THE WITHIN AND BACK TO THE WITHOUT".) This quote has been a part of my life from that moment on, bringing forth all of my paintings and or photographs in color, other than "Ribbons Of Time" a photographic body of work for Midwestern State University.] Also while in Dallas I traveled to Baja Sur, Mexico, where I began to realize my unique vision in B&W photography, a wonderful feeling like a lotus coming into bloom.

In 1986 I moved to Abiquiu, NM, following in the footsteps of Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz, continuing my quest into the unknown in art.   It was in Abiquiu that I began the series "Catholism From Baja Merging With Mayan Tradition From Chiapas" or the "White Series", a sculpture relief series of 8 paintings, with terracotta forms. (This series was worked on in Dallas, Texas, with the help of Martha Fain and photographed later in Lama Ceia, New Mexico where I shared a studio with Martha and Sara Harvey.)  From my realization of vision coming from Baja, I continued my expressions in the B&W landscapes of Northern NM.

In 1987 I moved back to Dallas and continued working on the "White Series" plus completing several other paintings. During this period, Douglas J. Preston and I took on the task of retracing Coronado journey on horseback. Beginning on the Arizona-Mexico border, the San Pedro river, we traveled 1000 miles, out 70 days, existing on beans and rice with a few supplements. This journey was underwritten by the Smithsonian Magi., and Douglas wrote a book from our travels, The Cities Of Gold retracing Coronado.

Somewhere around 1990 I moved to Henrietta, TX. where I completed the series "Pathway Through The Sun Through Pedernal" a sculpture relief painting series of 4, composed of wood, clay, terracotta, and canvas, painted with encaustics and oil.  This series was dedicated to my sister, Cynthia Nelson after her death, for this was her magical carpet to ride on into eternity.  The inspiration came from the mystical Obesidum mountain overlooking, the Ghost Ranch Valley, Pedernal. Other paintings and photographs came from this period.

In 1992 I moved back to Santa Fe and Abiquiu, opened a gallery and lived on the plaza with my dog Darwin August Perth, a red healer, my companion in time.   Upon his death, I decided to create two shrines for his memorial, where upon I created 12 in New Mexico, 1 in Texas and 5 in Europe.  Walking into the landscape with hemp and ashes, nature gave me the elements to work with.  Over a period of one day to two weeks these shrines were created, with ceremony and photographed.  From this experience came terracotta sculptured relief paintings and oil paintings.  During this period of time, I journeyed to Europe with a backpack and a new awareness.  This was for a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk at Plum Village, in Southern France. After two weeks at Plum Village, I traveled to Florence, Siena, Rome, Venice, Padua, the Chinque Terra, Arles, and Paris. During this journey I Photographed with a 35mm camera, creating a body of work "Pilgrimage Into Art"

I moved to Wichita Falls, Texas in 2002, where I now reside, executing sculpture relief paintings from my experiences at the Dalquest Research Site, in the Chihuahan Desert, twenty miles north of the Rio Grande, owned by Midwestern State University. My latest major photographic project was from this canyon, with an exhibition of 70 photographs and book signing at The Museum of Fine Arts in Wichita Falls, Texas.

I am now working on a new body of work, “Nature Or Man Made Graffiti on Aspen Trees”, a “Cloud Series” and have just completed a body of work “Simplicity Of Form---Light and Shadow”, Homage To Donald Judd.


Biography from Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden:
Born: 1942, Wichita Falls, Texas


1995 Midwestern University, Wichita Falls, Texas, Bachelor of Science (Mammalogy-Geology)
1995-96 Texas A&M University (Oceanography)

Solo Exhibitions:

1983 Wichita Fall Art Museum, Wichita Falls, Texas
1984 Scheinbaum-Russek Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1984 O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, New York
1984 Harris Gallery, Houston, Texas
1984 Picture Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma
1984 After Image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1985 Atrium Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana
1987 After Image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1989 Charles B. Goddard Center, Ardmore, Oklahoma
1989 Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1991 After image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1991 Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1992 Photographers Gallery, Palo Alto, California
1992 The Center for Photographic Arts, Carmel, California
1994 Spring Show, Platinum Plus Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1994 Retrospective Exhibit, Hickory Street Annex, Dallas, Texas
1994 Inner Visions, Pain Fine Art Center, Midwestern University, Wichita Falls, Texas
1995 Expressions in Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1996 Fine Arts Center, UNC, Colorado Springs, Colorado
1997 Retracing Cornado, In Search of the Cities of Gold, The Platinum Portrait Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1998 The Albuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1999 Trees, Rocks, Flowers, The Nelson Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2001 Impressions from Nature, Edmund Craig Gallery, Fort Worth, Texas
2002 A Sacred Journey, After Image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2006   Walter Nelson: Ribbons of Time, Highland Gallery Marfa, Marfa, Texas
2006   Song Line Into Art: a show and sale of Present and past works by Walter Nelson, Northlight Gallery, The Kemp Center for the Arts, Wichita Falls, Texas

Group Exhibitions:

1983 Alternative Museum, New York, New York
1983 Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
1984 After image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1984 Adams-Middleton Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1984 Hills Gallery, Denver, Colorado
1984 Scheinbaum-Russek Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1984 Portfolio Gallery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1984 Central State University Museum of Art, Edmond, Oklahoma
1984 Bank America World Headquarters, Concourse Gallery
1985 Highlights Selections from Bank America Corporation Art collection
1985 Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, California
1985 Greg Grycner Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
1985 Tom Halstead Gallery, Rirmingham, Michigan
1985 Carancahua Gallery, Corpus Christi, Texas
1985 Amarillo Art Center, Amarillo, Texas
1985 Texas Visions, Art League of Houston, Houston, Texas
1985 Phototropics, Fox and Fowl Architects, Inc., New York, New York
1986 Scheinbaum-Russek Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1986 Chiapas, LTV Center, Dallas, Texas
1986 Gallery of Fine Photography, New Orleans, Louisiana
1986 Ray Hughes Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1987 Scheinbaum-Russek Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1988 Robert Lock Gallery, San Francisco, California
1988 Citie Fair, Texas Commerce Rotunda, Dallas, Texas
1988 Zoomopalism, Dallas, Texas
1988 A Gallery of Fine Photography, New Orleans, Louisiana
1988 A Texas Dozen, Moss Chumley Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1988 My Summer Vacation, Crescent Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1988 Assemblages, Beverly Gordon Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1989 The New Expeditionary Photographer, University of Oklahoma Museum at Norman, Oklahoma
1989 Works on Paper, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1990 Expo '90, Osaka, Japan
1990 Spirits Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1991 A Sense of Place, Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1991 The Best, After Image Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1992 Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1993 Images and Time, Taipei International Exhibition of Photography Art
1993 Shrine Show, Owens-Dewey Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1993 Item and Image II, University of Dallas, Haggar Gallery
1994 Spring Show, Platinum Plus Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1994 Shrine Show, Owens-Dewey Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1994 Hats off To EASL, Dallas, Texas
1994 Exquisite Corpse, McKinney Avenue Contemporary (MAC), Dallas, Texas
1995 Critics Choice, Dallas Visual Arts Center
1995 Shrine Show, Owens-Dewey Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1995 The Red How Show, Texas Fine Art Association, Austin, Texas
1996 Fine Art Center, University of Colorado
1998 Sacred Art, Sacred Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1998 Celebrating the American Farm, Candace Perich Gallery, Katonah, New York
1998 Paris Photo, Carrousel, Du Louvee, Paris, France
2000 Challenge New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2001 Candace Perich Gallery, Katonah, New York
2001 Boundless Ways of Seeing, Chaffee County Council of the Arts, Buena Vista, Colorado
2002 Beyond the Apple and Bottle: Still Life Invitational, Valley House Gallery, Dallas, Texas

Public Collections:

American Express
Bank America Corporation
Coca-Cola Inc.
Equitable life insurance Company
Exxon Corporation
Fireman's Fund Insurance
Frito Lay Corporation
Graham Nash Collection
Houston Museum of Fine Art
Hurd Development
IBM Corporation
New Orleans Museum of Art
Oklahoma Arts Institute
Oklahoma Museum of Art at Norman
Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas
Pacific Bell Telephone
Pepsi Inc.
Republic Bankshare
Seton Medical Center
Stanford University Hospital
Texas Commerce Bankshares
Texas Instruments
The Albuquerque Museum of Art
The Gibson Company
The San Diego Museum of Photography, Balboa Park
The Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts
The Southland Corporation

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