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Born in Kapunda, South Australia in 1961, Michael Kempson has developed an extensive printmaking practice in Australia and the Asia/Pacific region through his work as an artist, curator, master printer and academic. Kempson is currently a Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Printmaking Studies at the University of New South Wales, Faculty of Art & Design in Sydney, a visiting Professor at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Art in China and the International Member at Large for the US based Southern Graphics Council International for 2014 to 2016. Kempson has been exhibiting in Australia since 1983 with a total of 26 one-person exhibitions and over 200 group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He was an invited artist in the 22nd International Biennial of Graphic Art in Ljubljana in 1997 and his most recent major international one–person exhibition was titled Seen/Unseen – Michael Kempson/A Survey of Prints at V.M. Art Gallery in Karachi, Pakistan in 2010. In 2014 he was a commissioned artist for the Print Council of Australia Member Print and he was curated into Kyoto Hanga 2014: Australia and Japan at the Kyoto Municipal Museum in Japan.
In addition Kempson initiates printmaking research projects, in which he is a collaborative partner, in his position as Director of Cicada Press, a research group at UNSW Art & Design that functions as an educationally focussed custom-printing workshop. He has worked with approximately 170 significant Australian and International artists and his curatorial experience has involved 51 exhibitions in Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Taiwan, Pakistan, Korea, Japan, UAE, USA, Canada and China. These include: Aboriginal Dreams – Paintings, Etchings, Linocuts – Indigenous Art from Papunya Tjupi, at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi; Personal Space: Contemporary Chinese and Australian Prints at Manly Art Gallery and Museum which toured Australian and Chinese galleries in 2012/13; Seoul-Sydney: Contemporary Korean and Australian Prints at UNSW Galleries, Sydney in 2014 and at Chugye University for the Arts, Seoul in 2015; and Interchange at Silpakorn University Art Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand in 2014 and touring to Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney in 2015.
In late 2012 Kempson was invited to curate an Australian component representing UNSW for the 11th Annual Printmaking Exhibition and Conference for Chinese Academies and Colleges at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art in China. This was the first invitation for an international art school to attend this prestigious event. Kempson convened the international panel for the Southern Graphics Council International conference titled Bridges: Spanning Tradition, Innovation and Activism in San Francisco, USA in March 2014 and will do so again at Spheres in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2015.
Kempson’s recent prints personify utilitarian objects, natural forms and children’s toys in an exploration of inter-relationships, referencing ideas of social inequity and the post-colonial legacy within a wider geopolitical paradigm. Kempson is represented in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; The Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide and many Australian regional galleries and corporate collections.