Roger Kemp 1960-1975: Works from the Estate

Since his death in 1987, Roger Kemp has remained a critical figure in abstract art, embedding his pursuit of the deeper questions of the human condition within his abstract practice.

This current exhibition is the largest release of works from the Kemp Estate to date, focussing on a rich study of his 1960’s works. Strong and intense, the works explore heavily abstracted figuration in oils, reinforced by black borders that allude to cloisonné enamel or stained glass windows. There is undoubtedly a link to his iconic tapestries of the same period that adorn the Great Hall of the NGV.

Demonstrating the diversity of his practice, the exhibition also includes his later etchings and more spontaneous large scale works on papers that he developed in the 1970’s.

Placing importance on the process, the structure of the painting emerged under the uninhibited movement of his brush. This belief in action over premeditated intent leads Kemp’s paintings to be viewed as unconscious truths – an act of artistic confession.

Informed by Theosophy, Kemp’s works are underlined by an interest in the commonalities of human meaning, rather than the differences that separate us.

Developing his own pictorial language and personal symbolism, Kemp’s practice was led by the belief in the possibility of a universal human truth.

The spontaneous energy of his practice—through the circle and square abstract symbols invigorated by energised lines—created dynamic and intriguing works full of movement. As a result his art is intuitive, yet highly disciplined to create an honest language that conveys a sense of man’s connection to humanity and the universe.

A highly focussed exhibition, it promises to provide a refreshingly in-depth look at Kemp’s practice from the 1960s-1975. Rather than attempting to summarise a lifetime of his expansive geometric abstract practice, it is instead an insightful take on a critical period of the artist’s well-matured work in his later years of life.

Roger Kemp 1960-1975: Works from the Estate
21 November – 18 December
Eastgate & Holst

Courtesy the artist and Eastgate & Holst.


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