About Cate



Cate Nelson (b. 1980) is an artist living and working in Oakland, California. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has exhibited in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. She has received several grants and awards including an Alternative Exposure grant from Southern Exposure San Francisco and an Affiliate Artist Residency award at Headlands Center for the Arts in addition for being a finalist for he Headlands Tournesol Award. Nelson’s work is in private collections both nationally and abroad.  

 In addition to her art practice, Cate has been involved in several special projects including The Painting Salon and Oakland Stock


My work focuses on themes of domesticity, object fetish, self-worth, personal relationships, the decorative, and notions of femininity and home.  I am interested in imagining alternate realities wherein the psychological implications of our relationships to place, objects, and each-other collide in unsettling ways and become manifest through a post-modern approach to painting.

I grew up in an old colonial house, filled with old untouchable things. When the tv antenna blew up, it was never replaced. I spent my time inventing imaginary friends and imaginary places all while surrounded by a bygone era. My childhood influences have helped shape my methodology. I combine modern technologies with traditional technique, resulting in works that speak to both history and contemporary culture.

Collage, drawing, arrangement, and storytelling, are all modes by which I discover and elicit new imagery.  My paintings use contrasting styles, patterns, and symbolism to create tension. Current experiments have generated new ideas and push my painting into an expanded field where multiple works can exist in dialogue, creating a call and response. I have begun to utilize sculpture and printmaking in tandem with my paintings to create complex installations where diverse media share a democratic space.