Countless local artists take the natural world as their subject, but few look at it from the viewpoint of ecology. But then, it’s hard to think of any other local artists whose plaudits include The North American Journal of Herpetology for his book Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding. In addition to a scientific precision, Van Kempen’s naturalist renderings of flora and fauna are never without a sense of lush beauty, a deep compositional aesthetic.
These images are all about relationships, of one species to another and to the environment as a whole. If his works depict the richness of nature, the miniature narratives of these sometimes oversize paintings also convey a message:
Regardless of the violence of the human species toward nature, the natural world can be hardier than we sometimes give it credit for.
Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen @ Evergreen Frame Company, 3295 S. 2000 East, 801-467-8770, May 21-Aug 20.