Some excerpts from Hendrik Kolenberg’s introduction to the exhibition he presented of Roger Kemp: The Complete Etchings (84 in number) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1991:
“Roger Kemp‘s etchings are quintessentially works of maturity. They belong to the last important period of his development, produced (though not all printed and editioned) over a few short years, and therefore have a quality and unity which invites separate study and enjoyment.
Kemp’s etchings were also largely a product of one of the first contemporary printmaking workshops in Australia. They would not have been made without the timely establishment of George Baldessin’s print workshop at his studio in Melbourne during the first half of the 1970s.
“The two years Roger Kemp spent in London [1970-71] were crucial years for his work, which took on monumental proportions. His largest painting ever, about 17.5 metres in length, was produced there… Prior to this, Kemp had begun to favour the more sympathetic surface of canvas and paper, rather than hardboard, and his drawings also reflected a similar note of renewal.
“…with Baldessin’s encouragement Kemp was soon etching larger and far more ambitious plates, and with a startling confidence and command over the technique which immediately established him as a major new force in printmaking.
“Kemp inscribed each metal plate with considerable vigour, literally scoring his plate as an engraver might, with but casual reference to drawings. Rather than just scratching through the bituminous ground to reveal the metal beneath for etching in an acid bath, Kemp reveled in the resistance of the soft metal, scoring deeply with sweeping rhythmical lines and points of focus. He rapidly completed each plate and once a proof print was taken, rarely added or corrected. He had an instant and instinctive rapport with the technique.”
Please note: the gallery is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, click here to view the exhibition online.
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