Thinking Out Loud On Display in the Baber Room

Works by Brian Nelson investigate post-pandemic life

| Author: Denise Fanning

Person in the Baber Room Gallery looking at the Brian Nelson ExhibitionIf you’ve walked through Park Library recently, you may have seen people peering curiously through the Baber Room windows. On one wall, a steel “cloud” hangs, emerging from an oxygen tank. In a corner, the neon word CURE eerily hums away on the floor. Near that piece stands a cracked plaster statue of Mary with a tube inserted her stomach leading to a cluster of melted glass jars. These are just few of the mesmerizing works by Michigan artist Brian Nelson in “Thinking Out Loud,” an installation on display until February 1st, that includes sculptures and works on paper.

Nelson is known for rendering complex examinations of contemporary life into sculpture and for impeccable craftsmanship. For example, that stainless steel surface employed as a pedestal that looks like a surgeon’s table? He fabricated that, too. All around the gallery, in fact, nothing is as it first seems; what looks like a plastic gas tank one could easily lift, is actually cast in bronze. An abstract drawing, up close, is actually a virus.

Several pieces resonate with the austere exterior of technology and medicine. Linger, though, and you’ll feel their resonant humanity. “My work is reflecting on my experiences,” Nelson said, though he hopes “every viewer will see the work through their own histories.” And it’s true. Visitors who look closer and who spend time immersed in the installation will be most rewarded.

Brian Nelson will give an artist talk at 6:30 pm on Thursday, January 19 in Park Libraries’ Sarah and Daniel Opperman Auditorium, free and open to the public.  

View latest news