Melvin Edward Nelson (M.E.N.) Original Artwork (Sienna/Brown)
An original "photo genetics" artwork by Melvin Edward Nelson. Working primarily in the middle of the night with handmade pigments and watercolors gathered from his land in Colton Oregon, Melvin Edward Nelson (1908-1992) often signed his work "M.E.N.," which also stood for "Mighty Eternal Nation." He is said to have watched UFOs land on his property and Nelson would collect the earth and rocks from the area of the landings, which he believed to be imbued with special or cosmic powers. He would crush the rocks and minerals to make his own pigments, which he called "stardust" and the works created with these pigments he called "photo genetics." He considered them recordings of the forces and power of the earth.
The lore and stories surrounding Nelson are colorful and complex. He was an inventor and claimed to create devices to observe the universe and harness cosmic energy. He also believed he had a special ability to see and view atoms, plus "true" visions of the planets and the earth. He lived many years on his property with a companion and another inventor, Cleo "Mac" McClintock, and they had cows, chickens and sheep on their land which they guarded intensely, paranoid of intruders. In the 1970s they developed a relationship with the Aquarian Church of Universal Service, members of which had traveled to the area for a Woodstock-like concert. The church believed Nelson's art was visionary and the land the farm was located on had magical properties. But the relationship eventually collapsed amid Nelson and Mac's paranoia. Nelson and Mac were said to have stored some of their money in coins in the walls, not discovered until years later on the neglected property after their deaths. These are just a few of the anecdotes surrounding the life of this fascinating character.
Nelson's artwork was not appreciated on a broader scale until the late-2000s after a collection was found in a San Francisco antiquarian bookstore, and the work began to be presented in gallery and museum exhibitions. His "photo genetics" artworks now can be seen as related in style to the abstract expressionists of the 1960s, and Nelson is considered to be a visionary and complex vernacular American artist. A relatively large work by Nelson, whose paintings and drawings often were in the 8.5x11" (on found or common paper) to the 11x17" range. Untitled and unsigned.
Several additional works by Melvin Edward Nelson are available, please inquire. Item #1348.
Condition: Very Good, slight wrinkling surrounding pigment application as is common in M.E.N works; in a period wood frame, likely chosen by Nelson, which has been cleaned and resealed by a professional art framer, with new UV glass; some staining to original mat; some scuffs and wear to frame.