With a clean, modern, narrative style, Kenton Nelson’s paintings capture imagined moments that radiate intrigue and depth. Whether turning his eye to a striking woman in an elegant bathing suit or a simple but significant object—a garden hose, a gleaming pair of oxford shoes—that seems to contain mysterious power, he imbues each of his canvases with remarkable emotional and pictorial intelligence.

It comes as no surprise that Nelson’s inspirations include short- story writers as well as painters such as Thomas Hart-Benton and Grant Wood, whose crisp compositions his paintings brilliantly echo. His idealized images, he notes, “are intentionally derived from personal experience: the soft propaganda of the advertising of my lifetime, the staging, fashion, and lighting of Hollywood movies and television, and a narration and set-up influenced by the writers that I most admire.” The impact of film, particularly the finely crafted noir stories of classic cinema, is especially visible in Nelson’s work.

The esteemed lecturer and critic, Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus of the Achenbach Foundation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will give a lecture examining Nelson’s work and its relation to California Realism. Q&A to follow.