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For more information, contact Kathy Signorino, artist programs director, at or 614-728-6140.

2024 Ohio Artist Registry Juried Exhibition

Ardine Nelson

Professor Emerita Ohio State UniversityArt
Home 109 Westwood Rd. County: Franklin
Columbus Ohio 43214 United States
Home Ohio United States
Home Phone: 614.262.7806 Birthday: January 14, 2022 Website:


Ardine Nelson, Professor Emerita, OSU, holds BS in Art ed, MA in sculpture / photography, and MFA in Photography.  She came to OSU in the Dept of Photography and Cinema in 1974 and retired from the Dept. of Art in 2011. Besides teaching all aspects of Photography during her tenure, in the summer of 1995 she taught the first Adobe Photoshop course at OSU in the central classrooms computer lab. 

She has exhibited nationally and internationally, has received John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography, Ohio Arts Council and Greater Columbus Arts Council Individual Artist’s Fellowships, was a GCAC visiting artist in Spain in the early 90’s and has visited Slovakia to teach alternative camera workshops.

Her work is included in numerous public collections including the Columbus Museum of Art, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts–Houston, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, and Technische Sammlungen Museet der Stadt Dresden, among others.

Nelson’s practice includes the traditional and non-traditional use of cameras and materials. Her German Schrebergarden work has been recognized through a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts grant and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography. Her body of work, Ceilings, explores formal visual aspects of structures in the process of repurposing/renovation or slated for demolition. Nelson’s recent image projects explore specimens housed in the OSU Museum of Biological Diversity collections and the aging process in “Transitory States”.

Artist Statement

My long-term interest in landscape, urban landscape, land usage, regeneration and man’s effect on the land continues to influence my visual ideas.  Recent projects include Transitory States and From the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity.  Both of these projects explore once living things as they fade and dry or are carefully preserved for future observation.  Visit my web site for these and other projects.  

Transitory States references my interests through the making of images documenting the life cycle of plants.  Certain flowers last only a day (or night) before beginning to age and die.  This process of discovering the visual beauty of the aging flowers applies to all stages we humans pass through as we age.  Counter to the normal expectation of “beautiful color”, these faded, muted tones instead directs the viewer to consider the life cycle emphasizing the notion of all life cycles in our world with the longest, that of our universe and the shortest, the adult female mayfly living for merely five minutes.  Everything else cycles somewhere between the two.  The flower is ever changing as it fades, dries and may begin to grow mold.  I have recently learned the term wabi-sabi…a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  An aesthetic sometimes described as one of beauty that is ”imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

From the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity.  Specimens at the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity are beautiful, terrifying, and often repulsive.  They are a visual curiosity with an innate quality that draws one in even closer.  What is this fascination with dead things?  The jars, boxes and drawers of specimens from the various collections hold documental evidence of the natural world that surrounds us but is often ignored.  With concern about global warming, more and more species are endangered or becoming extinct.  Perhaps studying these specimens will alert viewers to what we are losing.    

As a visual artist, I approach each drawer, box, or jar with the notion that it has the possibility of a visually interesting composition, a relationship between the companions I wished to discover, document and present to the viewer.

I prefer to print each large bird drawer 1:1 with the original (24” x 36” plus black surround).  I am interested in the detail of each bird but also wish the collection data attached to each specimen’s leg be very apparent.  Often hand written, it details the geographic location and date of the collection.  Dates in this collection begin in the 1850’s.