St. Norbert College


St. Norbert College Art Faculty Triennial Exhibition

October 2, 2017

Priest-artist-teacher Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Priest-artist-teacher Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

From August 28 through September 22, 2017, Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., professor of art at St. Norbert College, exhibited a collection of new sculptures in the Baer Gallery within the Bush Art Center on campus.

Artist Statement

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

This collection of new work gives expression to my belief that we do well, always and everywhere, to deeply consider the value and beauty of that which seemingly might no longer be thought useful or attractive. In other words, I believe we too quickly remove and dispose of things that have much yet to say and reveal to the world. Therefore, I champion the use of materials that are wonderfully weathered and have been joyfully and seriously used, over and over again, so much so that they have achieved a patina only time can produce. It’s the incredible surface texture of “old things” that are beautiful to me; they declare they’ve been loved, needed, and used. This “memory” is worth preserving and I like to re-present such things as “three-dimensional collages.”

There is a definite and intentional element of “play” in the construction of many of these new works; far too often the “hard work of play” is downplayed (no pun intended!) when it comes to serious art—the very natural tendency we all exhibit as children to build things (forts with couch cushions, towers with boxes, etc.) is stifled too early in life. So in lieu of pulling out a can of Lincoln Logs, I collect objects and playfully build and unbuild new works until they seem to be “finished.”

I like the idea of unexpected juxtapositions; of ideas and materials that might seem contrary or contradictory, and seeing what happens when they’re bound together. For example, in Trypanophobia, I’ve combined syringes and hypodermic needles with 19th-century architectural spires (once part of a wooden altar in a Catholic church but discarded in a 1969 renovation project). To me, the shape of the spire, with its spear-point, anticipates the shape of the syringe and needle, inclining me to optimistically wonder how this particular shape suggests healing, restoration, and new life. This integration of objects of science and religion become a visual treatise in the goodness of a shared or mutual approach to living a happy, healthy life.

It’s the incredible surface texture of ‘old things’ that are beautiful to me; they declare they’ve been loved, needed, and used.

—Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

I have extended a decades-old inquiry into deaccessioned books as primary medium and am now exploring a new method of altering the appearance of the book to suggest new ways of being indebted to books as sources of inspiration, hope, and delight. Au is a “combine” wherein an old wooden drum (found in the trash outside a renovated foundry) holds a number of books revealing the gold-edges of the pages, with a nod to the art of Renaissance tondo paintings and the scientific process of discerning information via lateral cross-sections.

Ghost Town in an assemblage of materials gleaned from houses that once made up the neighborhood in and around the campus of St. Norbert College. Architectural elements from porches, staircases, and doorways are stacked and placed next to and upon wooden boxes and the remnants of an old circus-train to create a sculpture that evokes thoughts and ideas of small towns across the country and how “relics” of such old spaces-and-places can be preserved within a new work of art.

A Closer Look

Below are descriptions for each work of art.

Au

Au

Title: Au

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Books and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): 18 x 18 x 6
Insurance Value of Work: $200
Special Handling Requirements: None

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Title: Ghost Town

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 102 x 66 x 24
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: None

Text Visualization

Text Visualization

Title: Text Visualization

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Books and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): 24 x 20 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $200
Special Handling Requirements: None

The Jules Ferry Laws

The Jules Ferry Laws

Title: The Jules Ferry Laws

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 27 x 23 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $250
Special Handling Requirements: None

Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Title: Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Media
Size of Work (H x W x D): 80 x 28 x 28
Insurance Value of Work: $100
Special Handling Requirements: Suspended from ceiling

Synesthesia

Synesthesia

Title: Synesthesia

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 60 x 36 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: Heavy

Trypanophobia

Trypanophobia

Title: Trypanophobia

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Syringes, Needles, and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): Dimensions Variable
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: Work is attached to shelves (that are attached to the wall)


More about Fr. Neilson

  • Colleague + Friend
    Lessons on Virtuous Friendship by Dr. Paul Wadell
    By Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Welcome Home Brian Bruess, Ph.D.

September 29, 2017

Brian Bruess, Ph.D. (center)

Left to right: Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem. (front), Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., Brian Bruess, Ph.D., Abbot Gary Neville, O. Praem., Fr. James Herring, O. Praem. (standing), Fr. Tim Shillcox, O. Praem.

President. Alumnus. Friend.

Brian Bruess, Ph.D.

Brian Bruess, Ph.D.

The Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey congratulates Brian Bruess, Ph.D., on the occasion of his inauguration as the eighth president of St. Norbert College.

In the News

St. Norbert College holds inauguration for new president, Brian J. Bruess
October 11, 2017
The Green Bay Press-Gazette

Inauguration Day for new St. Norbert College president
October 11, 2017
FOX 11

Inauguration of new St. Norbert College president takes place Oct. 11
October 5, 2017
The Compass

The Inauguration of Brian Bruess Eighth President of St. Norbert College
September 21, 2017
St. Norbert College

Presidential Inauguration
St. Norbert College

Inauguration ceremonies set for new St. Norbert president
FOX 11

Livestream

St. Norbert College is streaming the inauguration ceremony live at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.

Watch live »

August 2017 Norbertine Celebrations at St. Norbert Abbey

August 21, 2017

St. Augustine

St. Augustine

On Sunday, August 27, 2017, at the First Vespers of the Solemnity of St. Augustine, Rev. Peter B. Ambting will be vested in the white habit of the Norbertine Order. Rt. Rev. Gary J. Neville, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside over the vestition ceremony.

On Monday, August 28, 2017, the Solemnity of St. Augustine, Frater Patrick M. LaPacz, O. Praem., will profess Solemn Vows, forming a mutual lifelong commitment to the canonical life between himself and the entire professed community. Abbot Neville will preside over the solemn rite.

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Frater LaPacz also will be ordained to the diaconate by Most Rev. Robert F. Morneau, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Green Bay.

Read more about vestition and the Norbertine religious habit »


Frater Patrick Michael LaPacz, O. Praem.

Profession of Solemn Vows and Ordination to the Diaconate

Frater Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem.

Frater Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem.

Frater LaPacz, 30, is the son of Terrence and Mary (Berg) LaPacz of Green Bay, Wis., and is a son of St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay.

Frater LaPacz was vested in the white Norbertine habit in August 2012 and professed Simple Vows in August 2014.

A 2005 graduate of Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Green Bay, Frater LaPacz graduated from St. Norbert College in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also studied at Conception Seminary College in Missouri from 2009-2011, and is completing a Master of Divinity degree at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

Read More


Fr. Peter Bernardus Ambting, O. Praem.

Vestition

Fr. Peter Ambting, O. Praem.

Fr. Peter Ambting, O. Praem.

Fr. Ambting, 44, is the son of Peter H. and Wilhemina (Vos) Ambting of Doetinchem, Netherlands, and is a son of St. Martin Parish in Beek, Netherlands.

Fr. Ambting graduated from the Secondary Agricultural School of Doetinchem in July 1991 and from Higher General Continued Education schooling in August 2002. After being admitted into the seminary for the Archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, in 2001, he earned a master’s degree in theology (Pastoral Theology) in August 2007. Fr. Ambting was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Utrecht on May 17, 2008, and most recently served as the pastor of the Roman Catholic Parish of Maria en Laurentius (a merged parish comprising 19 previous parishes) since 2010.

The first-year Norbertine novitiate (in which Fr. Ambting will participate) will take place at St. Norbert Abbey.

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