Passages

Kember’s new work involves popping out the mixed acrylic paint that dries on the bottom of jars, scanning the paint discs at high resolution, and then printing them at large scale. The results are stunning colour prints of the dried paint discs (with the very colours one sees in his paintings) that offer microscopic detail beyond what the human eye can see, an unruly miasma of colourful swirls and specks. These digital scans (not quite photographs because no camera was used) offer the conceptual interest of a 3-D object, isolated and fetishized by the large scale print, and the formal, aesthetic interest of lusciously-coloured abstract painting. With Kember’s experimentation, an original dialogue between painting and photography is achieved. -Andrea D. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

New Work

KSeries

Original Pieces

Details

Installation Views

Artist Statement

As I'm sure many other painters do, I have been known to collect scraps of dried paint and acrylic medium and pin them up in my studio. When held up to the light, these small (often only 1-2 inches wide) objects present fascinating sights. In the fall of 2008 I began to photograph them, and eventually inserted them directly into high-quality scanners. Printed at a large scale, this paint detritus presents itself as a bridge between abstraction and representation as well as between painting and photography. The combinations of colour and texture may remind the viewer of abstract painting. Technically speaking, however, they are photographically precise representations of real objects. Their viewing often lead to “cloud-reading”. They have been compared to Petri dishes, weather maps, the inside of the human body, etc. The initial shock of the viewer is a key moment in the experience of the work, as is the process of association by which one tries to bring the work back into the realm of the familiar.

The title Meridian refers to the circular shapes of many of my objects, as well as the cartographic quality which they seem to possess. As imaginary circles around the earth, meridians connect separate locations along one line. Similarly, my work brings together elements which are often thought of separately, or in opposition to each other.

Part of my investigation involves questions that affect painters today: Are abstraction and representation legitimate opposites? Do we think of a painting as an object or an image? Where do we draw the line between decorative and academic work? How does technology affect painters today? To these questions I answer not with my paintings, but with the rubble of my practice, scraped from jars, scanned, and exposed.