Jenny Kemp: Slow Grow
August 25th – December 9, 2018
Curated by Julie Lohnes, Director & Curator of Art Collections & Exhibitions
Jenny Kemp has been exploring the possibilities of organic abstraction for more than a decade. This fertile territory has afforded her the visual language and conceptual means to examine a collection of ideas, including biology and histories of modern abstraction.
In Kemp’s vibrant paintings, space and light are built through the placement of intricate parallel lines that shift slowly in hue and intensity. Using this stripe motif, she adopts references to mid-20th century abstraction such as minimalism and op art. She then purposely parts from this connection to embrace the hand-painted process and sensitive color relationships to construct personal spaces. Her revelation of time and illumination through gradations imparts a feeling of life and growth within biomorphic compositions that give reference to the body, reproduction, and change in both her paintings and animation.
The backdrop of the Nott Memorial’s elegant interior also provided Kemp with fruitful inspiration. The sixteen sides of the building’s architecture come together to complete a rounded space, creating circular shapes that are repeated throughout the building in parallel designs – a commonality to the parallel nature of Kemp’s painted lines. From the exterior, the building’s dome rounds to a point and has been historically nicknamed “The Nipple of Knowledge” revealing another congruency in the biological themes in her work.
Kemp earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in painting from the University at Albany. Her work has been exhibited nationally, most recently in Surface 4 at ARENA gallery at Brooklyn Dermatology in New York City, curated by Renée Ricardo, and in When We Were Young: Rethinking Abstraction from the University at Albany Art Collections (1967-Present) at the University Art Museum, Albany, NY.
She has been featured in the book 100 Painters of Tomorrow published by Thames & Hudson, and in other publications such as The Huffington Post, Seattle’s City Arts, luxe., The New York Times, and Apogee. She received a 2015 NYFA Artist Fellowship in Painting and the 2015 Emerging Artist Award from the Art Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY. Kemp sits on the board of Collar Works, a non-profit, artist-run exhibition space in Troy, where she lives and works.