Show entry, new statement

So I’ve bought a ticket New York for the IAM Encounter gathering, and since I still had a day I thought I’d submit a couple of works for the adjacent show. As part of the application, I wrote a new artist statement. I think it’s pretty good for me, but it is — undoubtedly — written for the two works I chose to submit. I’m posting the statement here, followed by the two works they refer to.

    “We don’t want merely to see beauty . . . We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

    — C.S. Lewis

    The sentiment Lewis expresses in the above quote, a burning but enigmatic desire to become a part of what is beautiful, could spawn a thousand interpretations. If I were to elaborate on the quote, I might suggest that — whether we’re aware of it or not as humans — we innately pursue a Divine aesthetic.

    This pursuit of a Divine aesthetic underpins my own artistic endeavors. Carving from a block of wood, modeling a lump of clay or assembling found objects I reflect on the original beauty of the materials in my hand. My hope, however futile, is to create something that speaks towards an unfettered beauty, beauty with a capital B.

    Beauty with a capital B isn’t always what we expect. Something I pick up in the road — a rusted piece of sheet metal, a tangle of wire flattened by so many cars, half a shake shingle — generally elicits eyes and groans of disgust. A menacing thunderstorm on the edge of a prairie, with it’s potential to ruin a crop with hail or drop a tornado that aims to flatten a community, can levy fear upon a crowd.

    However, there is also incredible beauty in a billowing storm. There is incredible beauty in the patina of crumpled, rusted steel lying in a roadway. Meditative poetry and contemplative metaphor hide in such entropy. I hope to extract just a little of this poetry and metaphor from my own intentional observations, infuse it into my work and share it with a viewer.

    So there is hope.



About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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