Brent W. Phelps, "#13 Ft. Pierre National Grasslands", Stanley County, South, Dakota, 1997, ed#2/27, 12x36

Brent W. Phelps

The banal becomes foreign through discovery of historical events that took place, or originated at the photographed locations. Combining historical text with contemporary photographs allows me to participate in the process of cognitive archaeology.

History progresses not as string theory, but as loop theory. Each site becomes an ever-expanding loop (like film) of historical information as time moves forward, adding new experiences and events to the location in historical layers. The process of photographing and combining historical text allows us to re-construct portions of the loop to reveal the foreign in the banal.

Realizing the potential for historical layering of any given site opens new possibilities and anticipation for the local/banal.

“The past matters more than we realize. We walk on its ground and if we don’t know the soil, we’re lost.” – William Carlos Williams.

Brent W. Phelps lives and works in Denton, Texas. He earned his MFA from Arizona State University in Tempe. He is currently a Professor of Art at the University of North Texas in Denton. His work is shown and represented by Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas, John Cleary Gallery in Houston, Hemphill Fine Arts Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Wrangler Gallery in Sun River, MT. Work from his Lewis and Clark series was commissioned as a photomural for permanent display at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT. Additionally he has exhibited at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, and Afterimage Gallery in Dallas. His work has been reviewed in Camera Arts Magazine, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union, and more. Phelps has been awarded many grants including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His work is in collections at U.S. Embassies in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Harry Ransom Research Center Library at the University of Texas, Austin.