Gillian Kemper, at Greg Mangum Gallery this Thursday

Tomorrow, as part of Island City Art Walk, the Greg Mangum Gallery on Wilton Drive will show the work of Gillian Kemper, through March 3. Kemper is an artist influenced by Cezanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh. The Oklahoma City-based artist is also influenced by other, more obscure artists such as draftsman Egon Schiele and students of fauvism.

“I just love the fauvists because they didn’t let nature dictate their color palate,” she said from her studio. “I love van Gogh because of his colors, but also because of the movement in his work.”

Kemper will display watercolors and monotypes at the Mangum Gallery. The watercolors she describes as still-life/interiors, because they might include a portrait but will also depict paintings – some done by Kemper, and other objects.

“They are sort of quirky and whimsical,” said Kemper. “My monotypes are more landscape-oriented. I never use a photograph, instead I always stop and draw from life. Sometimes I’ll just get out of the car and do a very quick, felt-tip pen drawing in a notebook.”

When Kemper takes the drawings back to the studio she is then able to refer to the drawing and recapture the emotional impulses of her sketch. Kemper then reconnects with the image and when rendering it as a monotype feels the initial artistic impulse.

Like Cezanne, Kemper enjoys revisiting the same subject or drawing to capture something different each time.

“I do that as well,” she said. “Cezanne painted the same subject many times, to see what feelings and moods he could bring out each time.”

Her monotypes are elegant, with a quality of line and draftsmanship that is a blend of what is seen, and what is felt. Movement and color all work together seamlessly. Despite the flat, expansive, often monotone color schemes of Oklahoma and other nearby states Kemper instills an emotional quality and unexpected lyricism into her work.

“My drawings and sketchbooks are the most important tools. I’m often asked if I am self taught,” said Kemper, who has a master’s degree in fine arts. “I did sort of teach myself monotype printmaking, but even if we learn from teachers we’re still teaching ourselves.”

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