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Posted on May 28, 2013 |

Twin Art Professors Sculpt Workers

Twin Art Professors Sculpt Workers

Kelly Phelps, Acting Chair of XU's art department, and his UD art professor brother will be featured in a prominent craft magazine next month. Photo courtesy XU; click to enlarge.

Kelly Phelps, Acting Chair of XU’s art department, and his UD art professor brother will be featured in a prominent craft magazine next month. Photo courtesy XU; click to enlarge.

Twin art professors at two area Catholic colleges will be featured in the next issue of American Craft magazine for their joint works done to commemorate their youth in New Castle, IN, during the waning days of the area’s auto industry.

Xavier Univerisity Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Art Kelly Phelps and his identical twin Kyle Phelps, Associate Professor of Art at the University of Dayton, sculpt factory workers and other laborers as a tribute to the people, often down on their luck but full of hope, they grew up with.

The brothers both graduated from Ball State, and both worked in factories while beginning their art careers — work that was “horrendous – dark, sticky and hot,” says Kelly Phelps. After enrolling in the MFA program at the University of Kentucky together, the two began to draw on their work experience and upbringing in what has become their signature style and subject.

The Phelps brothers work in clay, which they paint in muted colors, and prefer a realistic style. They often display their work in union halls and other spaces popular with laborers, as well as in art galleries. Their pieces communicate the dignity of work and workers, and the human spirit’s endurance in adversity.

American Craft magazine is published by the American Craft Council, which champions contemporary American craft artists. “This is one of a just handful of highly acclaimed international publications that any serious sculptor wants/needs to be published, featured, or reviewed in,” says XU’s Kelly Phelps, “especially while still living!”

For a preview of the article and photo gallery, click here.

For a gallery of photos of the Phelps Brothers and their art, see the XU Facebook page.

Photos courtesy Xavier University and the American Craft Council.

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The Phelps brothers and one of their relief sculptures. Photo courtesy UX; click to enlarge.

The Phelps brothers and one of their relief sculptures. Photo courtesy XU; click to enlarge.

A closeup of one of the Phelps brothers' clay relief sculptures. Photo by Joel DeGrand for American Craft Magazine, click to enlarge.

A closeup of one of the Phelps brothers’ clay relief sculptures. Photo by Joel DeGrand for American Craft Magazine, click to enlarge.