Sun soaked, sensual and nostalgic are the three words that best describe the work of contemporary American artist Kenton Nelson. His large format, highly stylised and figurative paintings freeze time at it’s most lucid moments.
An Idealised World?
Caking over any of its imperfections, coarse hedges become silky in texture and the heavy shadows don’t dim these paintings but serve to lure you in. So cleanly carved out, the iconic all-American objects of Kenton’s scenes seem almost too perfect as to render them eerie.
As if witnessing the return of Edward Hopper, Nelson looks at America and silences it for a moment. Despite taking inspiration from drastically different time periods – Hopper choosing the Great Depression and Nelson the booming 50’s, both artists evoke a sense of its quiet stoicism. Nelson’s works may turn up the heat and the sensuality, yet with the lack of faces shown, of eye contact and of smiles, a similar solitude seeps through the canvases of these figurative works.
So Who is Kenton Nelson?
Born in 1954, Pasadena CA, Nelson was primarily connected to the art world through his uncle – Roberto Montenegro. The renowned Mexican muralist was a contemporary and close friend of Diego Rivera and Frieda Khalo and was responsible for Nelson’s initial interest in art. He was raised in Los Angeles and attended the California State University before pursuing a career as a commercial poster artist. Nelson’s works have been featured 5 times in The New Yorker magazine as well as in exhibits globally, from London’s Plus One gallery to California’s Pasadena Museum. Nelson also works across different media as a sculptor, video editor, muralist and mosaic designer.