BiographyWendell Arneson was born on September 10, 1946, in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned a BA degree from Luther College in 1968, and an MFA from Bowling Green State University (OH) in 1978. Arneson completed post-graduate work at the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts (NM), studying with Nathan Oliveira (1994) and Gregory Amenoff (1995). In 1978, he began teaching painting and drawing in the art department at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.
Arneson is an active exhibitor with over 50 exhibitions to his credit, including over 30 solo shows. His work was selected for Watercolor USA three times (1983, 84 & 85) and for the National Watercolor Invitational, Clark Arts Center Gallery, Rockford College, IL (1984). In 1978, he received a Drawing Award from the Van Wert Museum of Art (OH), as well as a Major Drawing Award from the Toledo Museum of Art (OH). He received a Major Painting Award from Watercolor USA, Springfield Museum of Art (MO) in 1984. He has completed commissions for several corporate and public collections, including Ford Motor Corporation, General Motors, Prudential Life Insurance, the 3M Corporation, and IBM. He participated in the Art in Embassies Program, US Department of State, from 1990-96.
Arneson’s work has evolved from complex compositions based on observation to emotionally charged gestural responses tapping memory and shared experience. He says, "The art of drawing and painting has for me its own sense of history – both the cumulative act of creating the work as well as its focus on one’s personal vision. The physical presence of paint and charcoal, the integrity of the gesture, and the decision-making process record my reactions to time, place, and relationships. The process of constructing a work acknowledges memory as a significant ingredient in the painting. It allows me to seek clarity of ideas while honoring mystery and ambiguity. Each composition is an assemblage or narrative that is more than a sum of its parts. Each work purports to capture a fleeting moment of life while being an accumulation of sensations and emotions that extend to the universal." (2000)
Source of Biography
Reflections (gallery brochure), Steensland Art Museum, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, 2001;
Marquis Who’s Who in American Art, New Providence, NJ, 2001-02;