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Kenton Nelson

Biography

Kenton Nelson was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He attended Long Beach State University and Otis Parsons Art Institute, and for the last 40 years has had his art studio in Pasadena, CA. He has been on the faculty of the Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Nelson traces his interest in painting back to his great uncle, Roberto Montenegro, renowned Mexican muralist and Modernist. The style of Nelson’s paintings have their origins in American Scene painting, Regionalism, and the work of the WPA artists of the 1930’s.

Nelson paints a distinctly California regionalism to idealize the ordinary with the intention of engagement, using the iconic symbols and styles of his lifetime in a theatrical style to make leading suggestions, not unlike the advertisements of his youth.

Nelson’s paintings have been featured seven times on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. Recent exhibitions of Nelson’s work have been enjoyed from Los Angeles to Stuttgart, Zurich, and Salzburg. His oil paintings of figures, objects, and architecture have, as one critic said, “single handedly resurrected the sun drenched optimism of New Deal American Painting.”

Born

1954 Los Angeles, CA


Education

1977-1979 California State University Long Beach

1979 Otis Parsons, Los Angeles, California


Selected Public & Private Collections

Albertina, Vienna, Austria • Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California  • Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach • California Palm Springs Art Museum, California  • Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Germany • UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, Irvine, California • Thomas Olbricht, me Collectors Room, Berlin Herbert & Rita Batliner, Liechtenstein • Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, CA


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2022  Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2022  Thirty Swimming Pools, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Pasadena, CA

2021  A Day at the Beach, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Montecito, CA

2019 Water Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2018 Kenton Nelson: Water, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Pasadena, CA

           New Work, Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2017 Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York

           Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena

2016 Splash: Art by Kenton Nelson

           California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, CA

2015 Californian Idealism: Paintings by Kenton Nelson

           Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA

           Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2014 Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, California

           Bohemian Club, San Francisco, CA

2013 Obstacles and Competition SpardaWelt Sparda-Bank

           Baden-Wurttemberg, Stuttgart, Germany

2012 Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2011  Peter Mendenhall Gallery, New York, NY (pop-up)

           Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2010 Galerie Haas AG, Zurich, Switzerland

           Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

           SCAPE, Corona Del Mar, CA

2009  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2008  Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany

           Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles,CA

           Art Brussels 26th Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels

2007  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2006  Plus One Gallery, London, England

2005  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

           Reynolds Gallery, Westmont College, Montecito,CA

           Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA

           Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

           Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery, Pasadena, CA

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Riley's Life

Riley's Life

Oil on Canvas

28 x 26 inches

220556

Canine | SOLD

Canine | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

24 x 36 inches

220442

Beach Bar | SOLD

Beach Bar | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

48 x 48 inches

220439

Ohio | SOLD

Ohio | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

30 x 40 inches

220438

The Test | SOLD

The Test | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

40 x 30 inches

220437

Emergence | SOLD

Emergence | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

36 x 36 inches

220436

Life | SOLD

Life | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

36 x 36 inches

220435

Incubation | SOLD

Incubation | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

36 x 36 inches

220434

Afloat | SOLD

Afloat | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

40 x 30 inches

220433

Shade | SOLD

Shade | SOLD

Oil on Panel

18 x 48 inches

220432

Moppie | SOLD

Moppie | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

28 x 26 inches

220431

First Dream | SOLD

First Dream | SOLD

Oil on Canvas

24 x 24 inches

220341

Santa Monica Market #1

Santa Monica Market #1

Oil on Canvas

24 x 80 inches

210787

Beachgirl #1 (Stop)

Beachgirl #1 (Stop)

Oil on Canvas

80 x 30 inches

210193

Born

1954 Los Angeles, CA


Education

1977-1979 California State University Long Beach

1979 Otis Parsons, Los Angeles, California


Selected Public & Private Collections

Albertina, Vienna, Austria • Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California  • Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach • California Palm Springs Art Museum, California  • Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Germany • UCI Institute and Museum for California Art, Irvine, California • Thomas Olbricht, me Collectors Room, Berlin Herbert & Rita Batliner, Liechtenstein • Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, CA


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2022  Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2022  Thirty Swimming Pools, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Pasadena, CA

2021  A Day at the Beach, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Montecito, CA

2019 Water Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2018 Kenton Nelson: Water, Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Pasadena, CA

           New Work, Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2017 Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, New York

           Recent Paintings, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena

2016 Splash: Art by Kenton Nelson

           California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, CA

2015 Californian Idealism: Paintings by Kenton Nelson

           Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA

           Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2014 Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, California

           Bohemian Club, San Francisco, CA

2013 Obstacles and Competition SpardaWelt Sparda-Bank

           Baden-Wurttemberg, Stuttgart, Germany

2012 Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2011  Peter Mendenhall Gallery, New York, NY (pop-up)

           Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2010 Galerie Haas AG, Zurich, Switzerland

           Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

           SCAPE, Corona Del Mar, CA

2009  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2008  Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany

           Peter Mendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles,CA

           Art Brussels 26th Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels

2007  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

2006  Plus One Gallery, London, England

2005  Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg, Austria

           Reynolds Gallery, Westmont College, Montecito,CA

           Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA

           Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

           Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery, Pasadena, CA

Kenton Nelson was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He attended Long Beach State University and Otis Parsons Art Institute, and for the last 40 years has had his art studio in Pasadena, CA. He has been on the faculty of the Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Nelson traces his interest in painting back to his great uncle, Roberto Montenegro, renowned Mexican muralist and Modernist. The style of Nelson’s paintings have their origins in American Scene painting, Regionalism, and the work of the WPA artists of the 1930’s.

Nelson paints a distinctly California regionalism to idealize the ordinary with the intention of engagement, using the iconic symbols and styles of his lifetime in a theatrical style to make leading suggestions, not unlike the advertisements of his youth.

Nelson’s paintings have been featured seven times on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. Recent exhibitions of Nelson’s work have been enjoyed from Los Angeles to Stuttgart, Zurich, and Salzburg. His oil paintings of figures, objects, and architecture have, as one critic said, “single handedly resurrected the sun drenched optimism of New Deal American Painting.”

Kenton Nelson
Biography

Press

Judy Foreman: Kenton Nelson Gets More Than a Day at the Beach

NoozHawk

May 16, 2021

Laguna Art Museum entering final day of auctioning California Cool

LA Times

January 31, 2020

Cover Image

The New Yorker

April, 2019

Link

Reframing the Ideal with Artist Kenton Nelson

Pelican Hill Magazine

December 1, 2016

Kenton Nelson: This Side of Paradise by Carol Caldwell

Nashville Arts

May 1, 2013

Link

American Life Remembered: Kenton Nelson's Comfort Art

KCET, Artbound

June 18, 2013

Kenton Nelson’s glass mosaic mural makes its debut as public art in Old Pasadena

Pasadena Art News

January 28, 2013

Pasadena painter Kenton Nelson wraps nostalgia with surrealism, precision with mystery

KPCC, Off Ramp

 March 9, 2012

R. Kenton Nelson | Perfect Worlds

Southwest Art

March 1, 2001

Kenton Nelson

“For the most part, this is a show about leisure— although the paintings may require some work on the viewer’s behalf. As usual, I am balancing obstacles and attractions, putting background and foreground in a competition in another series of experiments.”
- Kenton Nelson

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