By Suzanne Deats
Carlos Quinto Kemm lives and works in Las Vegas, where his family has lived for generations. His artistic province, however, is global. Just as the language of dreams, laughter and tears is universal, so too is the magical imagery of Kemm’s elegant collages.
He draws upon a formidable reservoir of literary and meditative investigation. AS a child, growing up amid beautiful surrounding, he was accorded a great deal of freedom to observe and reflect upon the natural world. He went on to study at a state university and, more importantly, to become a voracious reader, immersing himself in great literature, poetry and art history. He has become remarkably sophisticated while continuing to live and work in a rural setting, solidly grounded in his Hispanic heritage.
“My best art education was living at the art library,” Kemm says. “Books were my life. It confirmed an inner feeling I had about the splendor of why we’re here. I can’t imaging what would have happened if I hadn’t discovered collage. It integrated my work with a shared reality that I enjoyed with an axis of excellent friends. They were also very directed in their creative pursuits, such as music and writing. My work grew out of several poetic and painterly disciplines.
“There is such a great excitement when you discover your own way of working,” Kemm says, “I had learned my technical knowledge from others’ work, then spent five years disgorging that knowledge. No matter how well you pa9int or drew, it is still just a repertoire. I’ve been able to transcend that through the medium of collage. It is an ideal medium to explore my preoccupations with such ideas as working through love, rising above the morass, attuning to the forces of nature – always with humor and a Zen clarity.”
Kemm’s mind ranges up and down the centuries, dissolving the barriers of time and space. Hi8s work connects the fertile undertow of the collective dream world with the perceptions of the waking mind, setting up a lightning current between the two. He constructs mythical creatures and environments from opulent fragments of everyday life, removed from their normal context and reassembled according to eternal circumstance. In his hands they form complex, expanded ideas that are at once hieroglyphic and futuristic, linking us with our own deepest perceptions of ourselves and our world.
– 1989 “State Nurtures Creative Spirit”, by Suzanne Deats, New Mexico Magazine, May 1989,