Eden Lucien Neleman, a senior at New Canaan High School, creates art inspired by her love of photography. In her hometown of New Canaan, Connecticut, she has enjoyed two solo exhibitions in the last two years, and in 2014 her work was selected for the 40th Annual Member Show at the Carriage Barn Arts Center.
The Garden of Eden, Eden’s 2016 solo exhibition, was shown at the Bankwell Gallery. Autobiographical collage work, based on hand cut and pasted photographic self-portrait studies, mixed with original found imagery of flowers and waves. The textural imagery combined themes of the emotional and visual self with elements of nature. The process was multilayered, using self-portraits as a starting point, onto which she pasted hand cut imagery—flowers, leaves, waves and other natural elements—creating mini worlds of green tonal ranges reflecting the earth and blue notes mirroring water from the ocean. Applying different modes of experience and being to the work, expressing emotions through cut flowers and ocean waves that flowed through and from the portraits of her “self”. The images fluctuated between explosive chaos and well-designed order. She purposely shied away from using computer generated techniques, thereby producing a textural three-dimensional effect, void of any artificial enhancements. A refreshingly straightforward perspective on the tradition of the medium, the collages had an unassuming ability to invite and transport viewers into a spontaneous investigation of the young artist's world.
Spliced and Divided, Eden’s 2017 solo exhibition, was shown at The Inn in New Canaan. A set of 18 collages, she literally spliced and divided information and meaning from found imagery. These collages showed how by editing, cutting and tearing, re-assembling and re-appropriating existing photographs, they presented completely new perspectives. She juxtaposed images, old and new, from vintage periodicals and contemporary fashion magazines to create new abstract realities, into which she invited, or sometimes challenged, the viewer’s entrance. By combining these extremes, she conveyed meaningful messages and offered conceptual metaphors that called for interpretation.
Eden’s work is easily compared to visual poetry. Indeed, her collages tell complex stories through beautifully assembled imagery. When asked what drives her work she states, “It is interesting to show my work, to express ideas through art and share my feelings. I love to create. I hope art never leaves my life, that I will always allow time for it. I believe art has the power to calm my psyche. I hope it will always inspire others.”
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