Kim Nelson was an Australian symbolist artist. He lived and worked in the foothills of the Brindabella mountain range, near the Australian national capital, Canberra.
Born on the New South Wales south coast into a farming family, he was related on his mother’s side to the late Australian traditional landscape painter Leonard Long OAM. From a very early age Nelson showed a precocious talent for drawing and creating and this talent was put to use not only in school projects but in designing backdrops for school productions.
At age 17, he spent a year at the renowned Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, studying 'drawing from life'. This was to be his only formal art training. It was also in this year that Nelson completed his first commissioned mural.
He subsequently embarked, somewhat by chance, on a career in graphic design and advertising concurrent with a career as a singer/songwriter in contemporary music.
This was followed by another ten years as a manager/curator of historic houses primarily for the National Trust (Australia) property, Cooma Cottage. Through a range of eventing, educational programs and exhibitions he developed the property from a fledgling local attraction into one of the Trust’s most successful regional properties.
In 1994 Dr Peter Stanbury (then head of Museums and Collections of National Trust, NSW) stated in a report to the board of the National Trust that "Kim is our model manager and news of his proficiency has spread throughout the Trust and into the public realm." This reputation garnered Nelson various awards in heritage and tourism.
In 1995 Nelson was acting senior curator of Calthorpes’ House and Lanyon, both heritage properties in Australian Capital Territory (ACT). He also represented the ACT Museums & Galleries in tourism and marketing until his departure to pursue his art full time.
In 1996 Nelson left curatorial work to embark on a full time career in fine art. He staged many solo exhibitions and completed commissioned art for a diverse range of organisations and individuals from National Trust of Australia, Pan MacMillan Publishing, ACT Supreme Court through to international media magnate Rupert Murdoch. His exhibitions were opened by the likes of the late Hon. Barry O’Keefe QCAM, the late Renee Rivkin and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and his work graces the walls of corporations and offices such as the Australia High Commission in London and News Limited in New York.
Kim Nelson was committed to using his talent to assist others, gifting art and design to many major and minor organisations and charities such as UNICEF Australia, Hope for the Children (Rotary International), AMACC (Afghan Mother & Child Care), Koomarri Canberra, The Smith Family, NSW Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, CanAssist along with numerous local and amateur groups.
He created the regional arts initiative YASSarts which seeks to promote the arts & culture of the Yass Valley region of New South Wales. From 2010 - 2014 he directed the Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions Gallery located in a historic Oddfellows’ Hall in the heart of Yass. It was part work space, part gallery, part performance venue and became a cultural tourism hub for the region playing host to an amazing array of concerts, activities and events.
In 2013 Nelson was named Yass Valley Shire 'Citizen of the Year' in the Australia Day honours for his work in the community and specifically for his services to the art.
Though his work can be quite diverse he identified most strongly with symbolism and the spiritual, drawing much inspiration from the great works of the past. "I seek not to emulate the styles and techniques of the past, but to reinterpret and develop them in the present and for the future."
EXHIBITIONS - SOLO
1996 ‘KIM NELSON’ - Anthony Rose Gallery, Yass, NSW
1997 ‘NELSON/DOUGLAS’ - Cuppacumbalong Art Gallery, Canberra, ACT
1997 ‘INTO THE LIGHT’ - Mallet Street Art Space, Sydney, NSW
1998 'WINTER’ - Griffith Gallery, Canberra, ACT
1999 ‘RETROSPECTIVE - Ten Years of Cooma Cottage’ (Photographic exhibition)
- Heritage Week exhibition for the National Trust of Australia, NSW
1999 ‘KIM NELSON’ - Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, NSW
1999 ‘A SACRED PLACE’ - The Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2000 ‘KIM NELSON: Recent Works - Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2000 ‘RETROSPECTIVE: CAVAN - Open Gardens Scheme, Cavan Homestead, Cavan, NSW
2001 ‘WORKS ON PAPER’ - Anthony Rose Gallery, Yass, NSW
2001 ‘THE LINE, THE CROSS & THE CURVE’ - Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney
2002 'PICTURE SUNDAY' - Open studio at the artist's home
2003 ‘The ODDFELLOW EXHIBITION’ – Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2005 ‘POSTCARDS’ - The Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2005 ‘ICON’ – Salmon Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2005 ‘BEYOND THESE SHORES’ – GIG Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 ‘METAPHOR’ – Salmon Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 ‘WATERLINE’ & ‘SKETCH’ – The Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2007 ‘AS ABOVE SO BELOW’ – United Galleries, Perth, WA
2008 ‘THINKING OF FRIEDRICH’ – United Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2009 PENOMBRE – The Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2010 OF EARTH BELOW – United Galleries, Perth, WA
2010 OPEN STUDIO – Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions, Yass, NSW
2011 OPEN STUDIO – Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions, Yass, NSW
2012 'HOMELAND' - Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions, Yass, NSW
2014 'THE ODD EXHIBITION' - Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions, Yass, NSW
EXHIBITIONS - GROUP
1999 ‘ALICE BALE AWARD’ (finalist) - Glen Eira Regional Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2001 'URBAN TRAFFIC’ - Manyung Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2001 'ALICE BALE AWARD’ - Glen Eira Regional Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2002 ‘CANBERRA ART PRIZE’ – Italo-Australian Club, Canberra, ACT
2002 ‘(LAND)SCAPES’ (Group exhibition) - Salmon Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2004 ‘CANBERRA ART PRIZE’ – Italo-Australian Club, Canberra, ACT
2006 ‘ITALIAN FESTIVAL SHOW’ – Domain Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 ‘The LINAC ART COLLECTION’ – Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
2006 ‘STORYTELLER’ (Group exhibition) – Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘PRESENCE - ABSENCE’ – United Galleries Sydney, NSW
2008 ‘NUDE’ – United Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2008 'WEETALIBAH’ – Weetalibah,Yass, WA
2008 ‘UNWRAPPED’ – United Galleries, Perth, WA
2008 SHIRLEY HANNAN PORTRAIT PRIZE– Bega Regional Gallery, NSW
2009 THE EASTER EXHIBITION– Forest Gallery, Durras, NSW
2009 YASSarts EXHIBITION - The Sheep’s Back Gallery, Yass, NSW
2009 ‘30 x 40’ - United Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2009 BLACK SWAN PRIZE for PORTRAITURE’ - Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
2009 [not] WASTLAND – Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra, ACT
2010 SHIRLEY HANNAN PORTRAIT PRIZE – Bega Regional Gallery, NSW
2010 ‘BLACK SWAN PRIZE for PORTRAITURE’ – Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
2010 ‘COUNTRYSCAPES’ Country Energy Art Prize – Glasshouse Regional Gallery, NSW
2010 '10 OUT OF 10’ (Group Exhibition) – Anthony Rose Gallery, Yass, NSW
2011 BLACK SWAN PRIZE for PORTRAITURE – Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
2011 ‘COUNTRYSCAPES’ Essential Energy Art Prize– Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW
2011 SUMMER EXHIBITION - Buratti Fine Art, Perth, WA
2012 ‘WINDOWS ON THE SACRED’ - Buratti Fine Art, Perth, WA
2012 SHIRLEY HANNAN PORTRAIT PRIZE– Bega Regional Gallery, NSW
2013 JOHN GLOVER ART PRIZE - Evandale, Tasmania
2013 ART A LA PALETTE (Mount Ashby Estate) - MossVale, NSW
2013 PLEIN AIR PRIZE - NSW Parliament House, Sydney, NSW
2013 'WINDOWS TO THE SACRED' - S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2013 CENTENARY OF CANBERRA Exhibition - Aarwun Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2014 'WINDOWS TO THE SACRED' - Devonport Regional Gallery, Tasmania
2014 'PLEIN AIR PRIZE' - NSW Parliament House, Sydney, NSW
2014 'AN ODD COLLECTION of FELLOWS' - Oddfellows Arts Centre, Yass, NSW
2014 'MEDITATION': CONTEMPORARY STILL LIFE - Buratti Fine Art, Perth, WA
2015 'WINDOWS TO THE SACRED' - Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria