Garden of Biotanical Delights: Diane Kempler

Friday, September 1, 2017
Friday, November 3, 2017 (6:00pm - 10:00pm)
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Mayer Gallery

Although Diane Kempler and Hieronymus Bosch work in different media and are, forgive the obvious, from vastly different cultural eras, there is something about Kempler’s wildly gesturing ceramic forms that are reminiscent  of Bosch’s passionately overpopulated paintings. It is not just the similarity of the titles. Just as Bosch’s seminal painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights seduces the viewer with the richness of macroscopic life, Kempler’s Garden of Biotanical Delights achieves the same effect with the richness of life seen through a microscope. Art historians have struggled for years to agree on an interpretation of the tiny triptych in the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain; likewise, scientists still struggling to unlock the world of microbes – the microscopic creatures too small to be seen with the unaided eye, that make up the oldest form of life on the planet and without which macroscopic life as we know it would not survive.

Here, the visual comparison of viruses and molecules with seed and fungi results in this multi-talented artist’s stunning response to the garden portrayed by the Dutch Renaissance artist while capturing the energy of microbes in the colors and forms fashioned in a contemporary garden that is uniquely her own.

Artist’s Statement

As a result of a recent workshop I attended in India, where I took long walks experiencing the cacophony of urban throngs, as well as the quietude and serenity of nearby gardens, I became aware, in both environments, of hidden seed-like forms that become the inspiration for my forms. I work with porcelain and under-colors to create a visceral environment that integrates the biological and botanical nature of all living things.

About the Artist

Diane S. Kempler, a native of New York, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brandies University. After moving to Atlanta, her art career was launched through a series of clay workshops at the Penland School and, afterwards, establishing her own studio. Her clay sculptures have been the subject of numerous and well-reviewed solo and group exhibitions in the Southeast. Additionally, she had been a staff member at Atlanta’s Callanwolde Arts Center, museum director of the Center of Puppetry Arts and, more recently, a professor at Emory University’s Department of Visual Arts. In 2009, Kempler received a residency at Denmark’s International Ceramic Studio; she later participated in ceramic studio residences in Hungry and France and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to travel to India to research hand-building pottery techniques in rural villages. Her research has been featured in three short documentary films.

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