ARC’s Kaneko Gallery hosts exhibition with artist Betty Nelsen

Nelsen’s “Reflections” series runs through March 10


Betty Nelsen talked to students about her work during her artist’s reception at the Kaneko Gallery on Feb. 21. (Photo by Shy Bell)

In a semi-packed room at American River College’s Raef Hall, the audience watched as Betty Nelsen explained her process and experience with her “Reflections” series. Nelsen held a lecture and reception for her current exhibition at ARC’s Kaneko Gallery on Feb. 21.

“I can’t just draw a thing if it doesn’t resonate with me in some way,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen is a fine artist based in Sacramento. She works with traditional and digital media including ceramic sculpture, acrylic paint, graphite and Adobe Illustrator. 

Nelsen says she believes the content to be the central issue when it comes to the art making process. She works from observation and accentuates the relationship between self-expression and fundamental visual skills.

In her lecture, Nelsen spoke about her technique and what materials she used in her series. But she also touched on her thoughts when it came to creating the pieces.

“I ask myself, who am I today? Because who I am today isn’t the same as yesterday,” Nelsen said.

Throughout the lecture, Nelsen engaged with the audience, telling stories about her own experiences, telling jokes and even sharing what her favorite eraser is, the Tombow. At the end of the lecture the audience was able to ask her questions and many people took advantage of this.

Nelsen said that her experience working with the Kaneko Gallery has been great.

“They are wonderful. It has been tender love and care,” Nelsen said.

Through her “Reflections” series, Nelsen wants people to recognize that universal expressions are ubiquitous and can be used to help ourselves and others.

“If more people could begin to touch their emotional life, rather than holding it in, it brings more joy,” Nelsen said.

According to Patricia Wood, Kaneko Gallery director, getting the exhibition together was hard work but worth it in the end.

“We went to her studio many times, she had hundreds of pieces. But Betty is great, and it was a lot of fun,” Wood said.

Wood says she was thankful that Nelsen was willing to do a lecture along with the exhibition.

“It’s a valuable experience for the students. They get the opportunity to ask the artist one-on-one questions,” Wood said.

Nelsen’s “Reflections” series is on display at the Kaneko Gallery through March 10.