Roger Kemp was a prodigious artist who produced a significant body of symbolic-abstract work of stunning power and conviction in a career spanning over 50 years. He began his studies in the mid 1930s at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, and early inspiration came from the school’s library, where he pored over reproductions of the old masters, particularly El Greco, Daumier and Raphael. Another key influence at this time was the Theosophy movement, which combined elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian mysticism and scientific philosophy.
From these diverse interests, Kemp began to develop his own language of symbolic visual forms, which included his own direct interpretation of music. In 'Revolving forms', Kemp uses a palette of blues, reds and white, set within a black armature which is reminiscent of Gothic stained glass, as well as the spiritually-charged work of the French painter Georges Rouault.
(circa 1960-circa 1965)
synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
135.3 x 150.6 cm sight; 145.2 x 160.5 x 3.2 cm frame
Gift of Merle Kemp 1994
© Reproduced with permission
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Roger Kemp: cycles and directions 1935-1975 (1978):
- University Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 05 Sep 1978–30 Sep 1978
- Benalla Art Gallery, Australia 09 Oct 1978–05 Nov 1978
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Referenced in 7 publications
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 235 (colour illus.), 300.
Andrew Frost, Australian art collector, 'Roger Kemp: Universal cycles', pg. 102-103, Sydney, Oct 2002-Dec 2002, 103 (colour illus.).
Sasha Grishin, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Roger Kemp / Godfrey Miller', pg. 104-115, Sydney, 2002, front and back cover (colour illus., detail), 105 (colour illus.), 110, 144, 147.
Patrick McCaughey, Encounters with Australian modern art, 'John Brack and Roger Kemp', pg. 102-115, South Yarra, 2008, 103, 104. General reference
Barry Pearce, The world of Antiques & Art, 'Exploring hidden treasures in Parallel Visions', pg. 124-126, Bondi Junction, Jul 2002-Dec 2002, 126 (colour illus.).
David Thomas, Society of Artists Spring Exhibition, 'Works from the Wesfarmers collection of Australian art part 1: lots 1-23’, pg. 32-33, Sydney, 1912, 32.
Unknown and Roger Kemp, Roger Kemp: cycles and directions 1935-1975, Clayton, 1978, front cover (colour illus.), (illus.). cat.no. 48