ROBERT A. NELSON
Born 1925 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nelson's November 23 to December 18, 1977 residency occurred at the time when he was teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while simultaneously completing a doctoral degree at New York University. He was a well-established artist represented by the Banfer Gallery in New York City. Art audiences in Omaha were already familiar with his work featured in a 1965 drawing exhibition at the Joslyn Art Museum and in 1974, "Rockets, gadgets, mechanical soldiers and menacing insects" at Creighton University featured his more recent prints and drawings containing depictions of Washington and Lincoln, Annie Oakley and George Armstrong Custer, Billy the Kid and Dillinger. Before his arrival, the UNO Art Gallery displayed these prints notable for their imagery gleaned from American history and popular culture. His work was self-consciously out of step "with the grand modern movements of the middle 20th Century" and, as he once explained, "shot through with the last dying vestiges of surrealism, cheap illustration, and the qualities of calendar and tobacco can advertisements." Nelson's prints are darkly humorous, menacing, and disturbing. Perhaps the most startling or unorthodox aspect of "Wet Suit" was its creation. The nude body of UNO ceramics major Denise Downy was inked by the artist and then rolled on the litho stone with the help of his four male assistants. Majeski used Nelson's visit as an opportunity to develop his facilities by purchasing lithography stones. Nelson printed two editions, thereby producing more impressions for UNO to sell to cover the cost of these stones.
1977; color lithograph, chine collé and letterpress; image: 33 1/4 x 21 1/4 (83.82 x 53.34), sheet: 37 1/2 x 25 3/8(93.98 x 63.5); edition of 30
1977; color lithograph, chine collé and letterpress; image: 32 1/4 x 21 3/8 (83.82 x 53.34), sheet: 37 1/2 x 25 3/8 (93.98 x 63.5); edition of 30