Liisa NelsonPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2021

Liisa Nelson was born and raised in Montana. The wildness of nature and quietude of mountains is in her blood.

In 2018 she graduated with an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She holds a BFA from Pacific Lutheran University and a post-baccalaureate from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

She has been an Artist in Residence at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute (JCI) (Jingdezhen, China) in Fall 2019, and Visiting Artist at The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) (Beijing, China) in Spring 2019. She has taught as instructor of record at Alfred University and acted as informal advisor to the students at Alfred, JCI, and CAFA. In 2020, Nelson founded Theorii Contemporary Art Space, an experimental gallery that is currently transitioning from brick-and-mortar to a digital and pop-up based project.

Her work is in several private and museum collections nationally and internationally.

In this cultural movement towards digital information and virtual connections, among other challenges our society faces, humanity grows hungry for experiences that ground us in our bodies. We long to return to the center and re-root ourselves in the authentic.

The human experience is complex and my work echoes its many layers. It enacts ambiguity and mystery. It points to the infinities within each person, within each moment: the power, and compassion and potential that can awaken when one pays attention.

It nods to science, religion, anthropology, and art history while embracing nuance and building a rhizome of bridges between disparate ideas. Absurdity and humor arch over fragility, offering and evoking empathy.

My long affair with symmetrical forms evokes ideas of sight and insight, the body, self and other, and multiplicity/duality vs. oneness. I find truth in paradox: the contingency of opposites, the simultaneity of micro and macro, inner and outer. My work is emotional, lead by a poetic and nuanced curiosity expressed through material fascination.