Between 1985 and 1988, from an experience he had in the sacred lands of Australia, Walter Nelson created an opus series of nine, unique and distinct three-dimensional relief paintings. He then photographed each relief with an 8" by 10" camera and with his own invented technique, purposely eliminated the third dimension of the reliefs - the shadow - to create two dimensional, dye transfer images.
This is the last and final production of the Dreamtime Portfolio in dye transfer, edition 7/7.
In the passage below, Nelson explains his experience.
DREAMTIME – The Creation Era In Myth
In 1985 Neiman Marcus (Stanley Marcus) commissioned me as a photographer to join a large group of creative people to go to Australia in preparation for their last fortnight extravaganza. Prior to this year Neiman Marcus chose a different country to represent to the people of Dallas and or the United States. Australia was their closing fortnight while he was still living.
While in Sydney I ventured into some of the most amazing museums viewing paintings that left me connected to the earth. These paintings were executed by Aboriginal artist dating back to the beginning of time flowing into present time.
Traversing the continent from Sydney to Perth, Melbourne to Darwin it was like taking a long walk about. At Ayres Rock I experienced the beginning of time, walking through a great expanse of charred burn seedpods projecting out of the Red Earth. This memory I carried with me into the sacred areas of the Aboriginal people, their myths and ledges, their creation era – to the Billy Bogs, to their ancestral ceremonial dwellings, rock paintings and earth formations that telling their story of their beginning.
Upon returning to Dallas I was continually haunted by what I experienced and beginning doing research into their myths and ledges. Out of hundreds of readings I chose nine myths to be incorporated in my working style then ordered $1500.00 worth seedpods, floral branches and leaves from Australia.
Using seedpods, bones, feathers, lint, twine, grasses, sticks, seashells, pigments, pastel, oils, watercolors, paper and canvas my expression of “9 Dreamtime” paintings were created over a 2-year period of time.
When one goes on walkabout whether in real time or in the creative process of art, one’s life changes.
-Walter W. Nelson
Top images left to right: Dreamtime Portfolio 1985-88 Nine dye transfer prints with paper interleaves interpreting nine Aboriginal Myths, ed. 7/7.; The Battle of the Red and Black Flying Foxes 1985-1988, 24x29x2 inches, ed. 7/7