Wet Hot American Summer: The Paintings of Kenton Nelson.

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Welcome to the world of Kenton Nelson. It’s America all right, but it’s always a hot afternoon and its always summer. The reds are red, the blues are blue. Shadows fall in clean crisp strokes across the world. The people are athletic and trim and classically dressed. It’s the American dream used to sell diary products: the unblemished American landscape, with its forever young and beautiful inhabitants. This quintessential and overly perfect Americana has a sadness to it though. The characters are  isolated in their perfect world. Are they lonely? Are they sad?

kenton nelson

kenton nelson

Kenton Nelson

Kenton Nelson

Kenton Nelson

kenton nelson

kenton nelson

kenton nelson

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kenton nelson

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kenton nelson

kenton nelson

Kenton Nelson was born in 1954, and is an LA based painter. His work has appeared on several New Yorker covers and his style has its roots in traditional American Scene painting and depression era Regionalism. During this era, painters embraced reassuring images of the heartland and rejected city life. The landscapes were widely appreciated as wholesome and calming. Nelson’s work has the same affect and each is the embodiment of classic iconography, but the picture perfect paintings bely something more serious. They make me stop in my tracks and stare.

You can see more of Kenton Nelson’s paintings on his site, and visit his Tumblr for daily inspiration.

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Comments

  1. Interesting work. You’re right- there’s a subtle sadness to the figures

  2. These are amazing, thanks for sharing.

  3. winnie says:

    hmmm….indeed they do cause me stop, to wonder, to try and figure out the story line…but to me, the figures don’t seem to convey sadness, perhaps merely taking simple pleasure in their tasks or lost in thought. i for one tend to be quite content setting about my tasks alone, alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely. thank you for sharing.

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      I like your interpretation too. I really do enjoy being alone too. Some of my best moments are alone…

      The landscapes seem even more lonely than the figures though. Or not lonely, but like “Pleasantville” so perfect its eerie.

  4. Kenton Nelson says:

    Thank you, Nicole, for you appreciation and attention. Warm Regards, Kenton

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