The photogram, first mastered by Man Ray and Maholy-Nagy in the early 1900s, is created without a camera by placing objects directly onto photographic paper and exposing them to light. Nielson’s work is a contemporary application of this well known avant-garde photographic process.
Nielsen replaces the traditional negative with handmade layered structures and uses found light sources. Creating each piece can take up to 12 hours and 100 exposures. The paper is negative rather than positive, which reverses the colors and results in surprising new combinations. Unlike her previous work which was made in her studio in Brooklyn, New York, the works in The Arrival were made during the summer of 2018 in the California hills, from which she drew inspiration.
In a statement released by the gallery, Nielsen writes, “In this work, I wanted to achieve transcendence through abstraction…I looked for shapes and symbols…that give order to disorder.”