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An Emerging Artist and a Nevada Artists Series to Launch at the Nevada Museum of Art
Bryan Christiansen, La-Z- Boy, 2008. Leather upholstery from discarded furniture. Courtesy of the artist.
RENO, NV.- Launching the Nevada Museum of Art’s Nevada Emerging Artists Series, Trophy Hunter is artist Bryan Christiansen’s first solo exhibition, and his Museum debut, opening February 20 through May 9, 2010. The Nevada Emerging Artists Series, a new ongoing exhibition program designed to support the work of select Nevada-based artists, is generously sponsored by The Satre Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada.

A recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Christiansen creates life-sized contemporary sculptures from discarded household furniture, such as mattresses, bed springs, couches and recliners. Having experienced all the requisite activities of a rural childhood growing up in a small log cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Christiansen’s hand-crafted works challenge the conventional notions of traditional rural life.

“We are thrilled to launch the Nevada Emerging Artists Series with such an impressive young artist. As a recent university graduate, Bryan brings a fresh eye and new talent to the art world as a whole, and to the Museum, with his contemporary sculptures – sculptures that ask viewers to re-examine their accepted traditions and urban surroundings. His works beg to be discovered and the Museum looks forward to announcing the next Nevada-based artist in the Series and bringing their work to the forefront of the regional arts scene in the state and across the nation.”

Christiansen’s works stand in for the trophies, antler mounts, and pelts so often prized by hunters, and represent his own triumph of the present over the past and his strength to confront some of life’s most challenging contradictions.

Christiansen ventures into forgotten urban alleyways and parking lots to search for discarded furniture, recalling the ritualized pursuit of stalking and hunting animals. Once he returns to the studio, he proceeds to “skin and gut” the furnishings, as though he were eviscerating a fresh kill. In acknowledgment of Native American traditions, however, he makes sure that nothing goes to waste, saving and bottling everything down to the last bit of sawdust and string.

Christiansen’s sculptures recall the work of 1950s assemblage artists Bruce Conner and Ed Kienholz, who used gritty discarded objects to probe such issues as the passage of time, death, and decay. Unlike the work of these artists, however, Christiansen’s reconstructions are exquisitely crafted, featuring exposed hand-stitching and floral fabrics that have more to do with making sense of life than they do with dwelling on death.

Bryan Christiansen: Trophy Hunter will be on view at the Nevada Museum of Art February 20 through May 9, 2010. The exhibition will include approximately 15 artworks, curated by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections.

Nevada Museum of Art | Bryan Christiansen | Ann M. Wolfe |


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