Subject Tags: pop, modern, surrealism, beach, sea, ocean, swim, sand, vacation, camera, man, woman, swimsuit, yellow, blue, hat, shovel, ball, cloud, sky, wave, relax, funny, humor, umbrella, stripes, sunglasses, mirror, lens, shoot, blanket, towel, wet, water, wind, fly, summer, sun, happy, leisure
Size: 44"W x 33.4"H x 1"D
Year Created: 2018
Ready to Hang
Curator's Note: Drawing inspiration from artists like Wayne Thiebault and Richard Deibenkorn, Alden Phelps explores the changing landscape of our modern world through bright colors and humorous figures. This piece spotlights our tendency to experience the world through the lens of technology.
This oil painting is part of my series exploring our world in front of screens. Everybody has a digital camera, and they're more interested in them than in the beautiful landscape around them. The main character is looking back at us, maybe questioning it all, or maybe just looking for his next shot. This is a fairly large work with bright colors and a glistening bright finish, so it's as pretty as a piece of candy and could be the centerpiece in a room. The canvas is stretched on a nice strong handmade frame, and I’ve painted the sides of the picture neutral black, so it needs no outer framing.
My paintings are often gently humorous or ironic. Some poke fun at our fixation on consumption and prosperity, while others focus on the intrusion of technology in our lives. This large series was first exhibited at Marin-Price Gallery in Chevy Chase, MD.
I always begin with sketches. Sometimes I use source material, photos I take or objects in the studio, but most often I draw entirely out of my imagination. I focus on the composition and color, and try not to think too much about the meaning of the painting, which makes itself clear eventually.
Early on I used acrylic paint on my canvases, but am now back to oils.
Artists who inspire me: Grant Wood; George Tooker; Richard Deibenkorn; Wayne Thiebault.
My name is Alden Phelps, I’ve been painting since graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1986. I live and work in an old farmhouse outside Baltimore. After graduating from MICA, I married a puppeteer and with a few friends created a community arts center where we made theatre productions, puppet shows, and taught art classes. I painted pictures at night, living in an old run-down rental and watching the semi-rural landscape around me transform into countless housing developments and shopping centers. This sad and weird reshaping of the land eventually became my muse. I had my first exhibits at the Rockland Arts Center in Ellicott City, MD and then Marin-Price Gallery in Chevy Chase, MD, my current dealer. I currently perform and teach songwriting at schools throughout the Delmarva area. I’ve just started posting photos of my process etc at