Imagine how one’s interior narrative may be visually portrayed. The way we experience the world is individually determined and constructed from memory, history, culture, and how we might look toward the future.  Creating an infinitely complex “landscape,” a “place” that though recognizable, may be simultaneously strange and nonsensical.

My drawings are densely layered, winding, melancholic, and playful reflections of the mind’s life. One’s interior narrative can create an unexpected hierarchy.  This hierarchy is reflected in each drawing through the sometimes, illogical arrangement of objects and space.  As we explore our thoughts we are weightless, floating in and out of time.

Each drawing is made with a combination of processes, beginning with the use of an airbrush to create an atmospheric base.  The narrative and landscape are constructed in layers with graphite, ink, and gouache, stencils and collage.  

Impacted by German Romanticism, and their desire to transcend the boundaries of the known world, reflected in the longing in their landscapes, I use the visual representation of landscape as a tool to contemplate scale and activate one’s sense of time.  

My desire for this representation is beautifully captured by the Irish poet, John O’Donohue who said, “…landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence, where you can truly receive time.” Simultaneously, the landscape is a backdrop for ordinary objects: a coffee cup, a book, a bird, a pair of shoes, each itself, an indefinite range of meanings.  

Culled from mental scraps of actual events, observations, books, and songs, the work invites the viewer to contemplate our shifting relationship to culture and history and to question our persistence in holding onto our perceptions in the face of so much impermanence.  

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Photo by Robert Muller/CIA

Amber Kempthorn explores memory and cultural mythology through drawing and collage. Her work has been exhibited locally and throughout the United States. She received her B.A. from Hiram College, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Amber holds a Lecturer position In the Visual Arts Department at the Cleveland Institute of Art and is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Wooster.  She lives and works in Hiram, Ohio.