Artist Biography:

A Bulgarian-born Canadian, the artist Kemp grew up amidst the rich history and splendid art tradition of Eastern Europe. Since his mother was a teacher of art and art history, he found himself surrounded by a vast selection of specialised art books and fondly remembers spending hours poring over a collection of art albums he discovered in the family library. As he grew up, his exposure to great works of art was further enriched by frequent visits to the great museums of the world: the Hermitage, Le Grand Louvre, the Prado, Dresden Gallery and the British Museum, which he enjoyed as part of the family’s yearly summer trips throughout Europe. Even today, Kemp’s love of travel and the desire to see new places and the art reflecting those cultures has not diminished, but he also sees the value in the technologies of the new Century. “Provocation and inspiration don’t always come from well-known world art centres”, the artist explains. “Nowadays, mass media gives us the opportunity of virtual travelling. From our living room, we can observe everything that happens around the world, but real travel offers a greater possibility for cultural influence and rethinking our own cultural values. It’s a different kind of dialogue.” Kemp received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria and a Masters degree in History and Theory of Culture from Sofia State University. He later extended his education by studying Multi-Media Design in Canada. During his study, Kemp came to admire the works of the Dutch masters Vermeer and Terboch and the fanciful painter Hieronymous Bosch for his imagination. The sophisticated style of the Italian painters like Piero de la Francesca and artist Andre Mantegna also influenced his development, as well as the vibrant colour and drama of the Spanish masters Velasquez, El Greco, Zurbaran and the ornamental richness of Byzantine and Medieval art. Currently, Kemp more closely follows the American and British art scene and finds inspiration in the work of Matthew Barney, Tony Ousler, Bill Violla, Damien Hirst, Ron Muek and Douglas Gordon. When the artist Kemp is not creating art, he likes to read philosophy and books on history and art. He is interested in the contemporary, post-modern culture and the view of art that allows an artist a new pluralist interpretation of old styles of art and the freedom to create meaningful, exciting new imagery.

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