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[ A diamond shape fills the entire picture plane which sits against a tan background with a yellow ground line. The outer edges of the diamond gradate toward the center of the frame from dark blue to teal to green with thin white contour lines between each hue. In the center, negative space creates the shape of a diamond which reveals layers of multiple organic shapes in warm tones. These interweave into larger diamond shapes as well. ]

Jenny Kemp

Mellow Yellow , 2013

Artwork Type: Paintings
Medium: Gouache on paper
Dimensions: 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.88 cm)
Accession #: 20142483
Department: Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region
Credit: Collection of University Art Museum, University at Albany, State University of New York on behalf of the State of New York , Purchase of University at Albany Alumni Association Dr. Arthur N. Collins ‘48 Purchase Award
Related Exhibitions:
Flow: Works By Alumni Artists From Mohawk Hudson Region Exhibitions 2009-2017
When We Were Young: Rethinking Abstraction From The University At Albany Art Collections (1967-Present)
Object Label:
Contemporary painter Jenny Kemp employs the traditions of the previous century’s abstraction while simultaneously breaking with them. She utilizes the temperature and value shifts central to Josef Albers’s work, and like Gene Davis she limits herself to a singular motif - —the stripe. However, breaking with the tenets of Concrete art and non-representational abstraction, she does not restrict herself to pure geometric forms or flat space. In the center of the composition, a blue and green cocoon envelops inner layers of warm reds and oranges teeming with life. The overall sense of geometry in the work—the central structure reads as a diamond shape with alternating pointed and rounded corners—belies the fact that there are no perfectly straight lines in this composition. The yellow horizontal bands in the lower third of the composition even begin to suggest that this biological form is sitting in a naturalistic space.
When We Were Young: Rethinking Abstraction From The University At Albany Art Collections (1967-Present)
Abstraction is a means for me to perceive biology and nature in indirect ways. I paint conversations developed through a linear language of hand-painted parallel lines that grow into varying hue intensities, reflecting movement in the natural world. In these spaces, organic form and pattern take shape and set out to transform beyond awe of natural phenomenon, toward a place of inquiry, oddity, and seduction. Color plays a vital role in creating channels for new trains of thought. The function of color in both the natural and material worlds fuels the work. Observing botanical growth in its various stages from youth to decay creates a connection to the arc of time, while color combinations and schemes reflecting periods in art history and trends reflect time in a static and nostalgic way. A graphic approach to painting allows me to create a place where I can toy with formal rules and think about the histories of modern abstraction and create tensions between flatness and depth. To me, organic abstraction takes root in the bodily experience: interactions between beings and the phenomenon of feeling. These themes can be interpreted through biomorphic shapes that tease figure/ground and pictorial space through contrasting relationships and small repeating patterns. Almond-like and orbicular shapes are often formed through the suggestion of overlap, creating portals or windows that reference art history and symbolism in human experience. Through the use of small-scale repetition within these forms, I aim to pull viewers into these spaces to engage intimately with a physical object, and find value in the incremental. The University at Albany was a place of tremendous artistic growth for me. From the comfortable studio spaces, to the dedicated and diverse faculty/museum staff, to the proximity to major cities, I found the years I spent at UAlbany to be the most important thing I’ve ever done for my career as an artist.
– Jenny Kemp
Flow: Works By Alumni Artists From Mohawk Hudson Region Exhibitions 2009-2017

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