Cristina Rosa Nelson

20″x16″x.75″; paper collage on wood panel; 2017

Cristina Rosa Nelson
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA


My collages and assemblages reflect my academic background in history and gender theory through the use of older, sometimes whimsical images. I collect vintage and contemporary ephemera such as medical and scientific illustrations, ads, nature photos, Hollywood fanzines, animal and human figurines, environmental detritus, and various bric-a-brac.

I use these components to produce two- and three-dimensional mixed-media works, layered with characters and symbols at once familiar and strange.

My pieces are iconoclastic in that they’re mash-ups of recognizable historical figures, fashion and ad models, old textbooks and advice manuals, and other texts, alongside creatures and traditional monuments and architecture. They are irreverent, ironic, and mildly sardonic, many expressing a mischievous sense of humour and an awareness of modernity and post-modernity. And they’re also plastic in that they’re open to many interpretations–viewers bring their own experiences, knowledge, and perspective as they see and explore my work.

Many artists have inspired me. A brief list includes Joseph Cornell, Lenore Tawney, and contemporary collagists Keith Maddy and John O’Reilly. In addition, I’ve been influenced by the disruptiveness of Dada and of Richard Hamilton’s work; Hannah Höch’s challenge to women’s marginalization; Nancy Pero’s concerns about the culture of the female form; and the photomontages of Grete Stern.


Cristina Rosa Nelson holds a BA in history from Clemson University, a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MA and PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with continuing studies at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Eliot School in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and the New Art Center in Newton, Massachusetts. Since 2014, she has shown her work widely in the Boston area, as well as in California and Florida. She is a member of the Jamaica Plain Artists Association, the National Collage Society, the Newton Art Association, the National Collage Association, the Concord Art Association, the Collage Association of America, and the UForge Gallery Artist Collective, where she was a managing member from 2012 to 2016.


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Dancing In Tikal
12″x9″; vintage and contemporary papers on archival mat board; 2019
Doreen Conquers Owyhee Canyon
14″x11″x.75″; vintage and contemporary papers on wood panel with acrylic; 2018
14″x11″; vintage and contemporary papers on archival mat board with acrylic; 2018
In Quantum Leaps
12″x9″; contemporary papers and acrylic on vintage mat board; 2019