‘Remain in Light’, Galerie Düsseldorf Perth, WA 2004

From The West Australian: Arts Review by Simon Blond – Saturday, 5 June, 2004

In this exhibition Western Australian artist Jill Kempson is showing an exciting new body of paintings, based on her research done at Monsieur Beres’s collection and bookshop in Paris. Monsieur Beres possesses some of the most sought after Beres’s bookshop over a six week period in September 2001.

On show also, are larger works on canvas of urban Paris, interiors and landscapes from the south of France. Jill has been developing her ability in using paint to depict the effects of light. By reducing the colour range and concentrating on tonal qualities, she has been able to create paintings that engage the viewer in distilled moments of time – a certain tranquility, subtlety and mystery that she sees in the world around her.

  • Jill received funding from ArtsWa for her research at M. Beres’s bookshop.
  • TWO themes are central to Jill Kempson’s show at GaIerie Dusseldorf: light and books. ‘Remain in Light’ is the title of the exhibition and of three works in which a young girl stands under an open window, through which light floods into a bare room. It bathes the cream walls with light in a manner reminiscent of Vermeer.
 Like a minimal abstract, a painting of this nature demands precision of execution. Kempson is up to it however: The paint is pressed into the rough-toothed canvas so that the gradations of light against the pilaster are beautifully translated, instilling into the room a feeling of expectant tranquility. A suitcase and a broom are the only other presences in the room, prompting an allegorical reading of the work. The theme of light is not only about seeing but about enlightenment.

  • Kempson has just returned to WA from a period of research in an antiquarian bookshop in Paris. Many works in this exhibition refer directly to this experience. Quiet Ecstasy is one of a series in which a small painting is inset into the text of an open book. The painting is of a beautiful young woman with closed eyes. The book is The Dialogues of Plato, which is open at pages that discuss the problem of the body as a dangerous source of “loves and lusts”.

  • Other works include allegorical landscapes and street scenes of Paris. This is a beautiful exhibition in which the aesthetic of the works is carefully balanced by their meanings. They evoke a sense of silence and mystery, which suggests that enlightenment comes not only through reading books but also from the stillness of inner experience.



Photography by Pascal Veydradier