Monday, October 11, 2010

Peter Kempson, Artist of Distinction, Paints "Love Notes to Los Angeles"

As stated by one of his critics, Peter Kempson paints “love notes to Los Angeles,” amazing pieces that allow the viewer to step right into the painting and be in Los Angeles. For his contribution to Still Point Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Global Lifestyles: Cities, Town, Villages, Kempson was named an Artist of Distinction. His paintings are remarkable for their detailed precision, a style that can only be called photorealism.

Rodeo Drive                                Sunset Plaza
[Larger Image]                           [Larger Image]

Kempson holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, which is reflected in the story-telling quality of his work. Much of his career was spent working as advertising art director and creative director at Ogilvy & Mather in New York and McCann Erickson in Los Angeles. His work earned him numerous awards for creativity, including several Clios and an Emmy.

Amazingly, Kempson is a self-taught artist, and, though relatively new on the fine art scene, he has already exhibited at the prestigious Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Kempson has also recently been awarded the commission for a large painting to grace the lobby of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union. Though he has begun painting other cities, beginning with his hometown of New York, Kempson’s primary focus remains capturing the unique and ironic character of Los Angeles where, as he puts it, “…validation may come in the form of an Oscar statuette or a stamp on your valet parking ticket.”

Artist's Statement  

Her full name in Spanish is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles[1], but she’s usually referred to by her initials, with the casual reverence one might pay a ball player or a beloved boss. She’s blessed with a majestic coincidence of mountains and the sea, yet her iconic structure—her Eiffel Tower—is a half-ruined real estate sign from the 1920’s. L.A. spins paradox on top of paradise with unselfconscious ease. She’s a city where validation may come in the form of an Oscar statuette or a stamp on your valet parking ticket—a place where people live in palaces, cottages and sometimes in cardboard boxes, and where palm trees vie with telephone poles for dominance of the sky.

To one who grew up associating the very idea of a city with the vertical thrust and paved-over urbanity of Manhattan, L.A.’s sweeping vistas and naked relationship to Nature seem exotic, and her gifts for nonchalance and self-parody provide a refreshing change from cities that take themselves a bit too seriously.

Like Oz, L.A. is at turns both wonderful and frightening, but ultimately the goal of quests that originated all over the world. Louis B. Mayer came here from New York’s lower east side, Howard Hughes from Texas, Alfred Hitchcock from England, Katherine Hepburn from New England, Governor Schwartzenegger from Austria. Even L.A.’s emblematic palm trees are originally from the Central American tropics. Non-native transplants like myself have long taken root and flourished here.

Though I’ve lived here for over a decade, perhaps it’s because I came from elsewhere that I find L.A. a source of endless visual fascination. I see a city of angels and demons, at once magnificent and profane—a place where dreams and disillusionment, grace and greed, triumph and tragedy collide on a daily basis, generating an energy uniquely L.A.’s own. Working from my own photographs, painting in acrylics on canvas, the aim of my LANDSCAPES TM is to capture the idiosyncratic character of this fabulous, flawed city in images that are not the usual tourist views.

A critic told me that my paintings were like “love notes to L.A.,” which is a little surprising as I portray the city billboards, graffiti and all, but I suppose the affection I feel for my adopted home town comes out in my work.

Rodeo Drive, acrylic, 40 x 30, NFS
Sunset Plaza, acrylic, 40 x 30, $4000
Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
October 10, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Love this. These really harken back to the photorealism school of painting with a cool, modern vibe.