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'Depth of feeling'
by Tim Birch (City Life, Manchester)

The title of this book neatly summarises Kimpton’s work to date. ‘Art of the Community’, a donnish but selective zeal for art history’s major players is evident. It begins with studious efforts from childhood that recall Durer’s mathematical precision in representation. Thereafter, certain couplings of artist and influence are discernible: the figurative focus of Degas, the garishness of Goya, the minimalism of Matisse, the voyeurism of Vermeer. Yet this work is far from a genuflection to the cult of copying. For equally decipherable is the fact that Kimpton is always looking forward.

The subtext herein, suggests that learning is never complete and that its process of renewal make for a stimulating, endless journey. Thus, from piece to piece John Kimpton blends aspects of the masters, but manifest throughout is an authentic hand. Effortlessly, form and content are merged within his own unique visual shorthand.

In his market studies of Ashton, robust markings evoke incessant, slashing rain at the same time as gently teasing out the structures of figures. So, the work may be skill based, but it clearly does not stymie creativity or naturalness.

Virtuosity allows Kimpton to shift styles and apply different techniques to better capture feeling, or as he puts it himself, 'The Essence'. Beguiling, Kimpton's figures are portrayed at mundane moments, but given a depth of feeling that achieves something out of the ordinary. The subject matter, often spawned from his North-West roots and locale, highlights the resilience of 'Rainy City People' and the artist alike. For, if anything the book is an honest account of an ever maturing hand.

Through his art John expresses with clarity and certainty the epic of daily life, and its permanence, dignity and value are captured there for all to see. We only have to take the time out from our busy lives to look
Anthony C. Browne
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