Dunedin based artist Maria Kemp produces contemporary landscape paintings that speak to the scenery distinct to the inland region of southern New Zealand. The regions of Otago, from the peninsula to central Otago have been the focus of Maria's landscape paintings for the past several years. Many of the landscapes are centered around childhood memories for the artist and are a symbolic of the place she calls home. Maria is fascinated by the natural patterning found in the physical world and how this can become a metaphor for the way elements in our own lives are woven together.
Maria's work can be identified by the use of simplified regions of colour, like ribbons, which come to portray the layers and contours of land masses. Harmonious palettes seem to shimmer like the light effects seen on the powerful vistas of this area. The works are reminiscent of layers of a weaving or the folds of a tapestry. As the artist describes, the inspiration for this approach came from a Psalm that describes the earth being stretched out like fabric, with patterns and folds like garments.
Maria paints in oil on board in tonal planes, placing the focus on the colour and form, her compositions are considered and enhanced by beautiful framing. Her paintings are at times fragmented and dissected offering further exploration of the notion of patterning in nature.
Maria Kemp is an established and highly successful artist who has painted for over 20 years. Her work is held in private collections internationally including the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Her work has also been acquired by public collections and major New Zealand institutions such as the Dunedin City Council and Wellington Public Library. Maria Kemp has a track record of successful solo shows and awards for her painting practise.
"In my painting I portray the metaphorical notion of the earth stretched out like fabric, suggesting a craftsman, designer or omnipotent creator. I identify the earth as a garment with its patterns, folds, and complex ordered design, I see continuous affinities that fascinate and resonate within me. I am drawn to the concept of seeing all the elements in our lives being woven together on an unseen loom.” - Maria Kemp