In the Loop
General News : Jul 29, 2014

Reading Between Lives; Michael Kemp and Sean Sexton Opens June 30, 2014

Gainesville, Fla., June 17, 2014 Reading Between Lives; Michael Kemp and Sean Sexton, a new exhibition in Focus Gallery on the University of Florida (UF) campus in Gainesville, Florida, opens June 30, 2014 and runs through September 26, 2014. A closing reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held September 25, 2014 from 7-9 p.m. in Focus Gallery. Reading Between Lives is an exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints and ceramics by two UF alumni that explores a dynamic relationship developed over the course of several decades between two close friends and art colleagues. Kemp and Sexton have long worked from nature in still life, plein-air painting, figurative and studio work. Their artwork is based on their daily experiences. 

The artists’ ongoing dialogue shared through letter writing, conversation, travel, art making and personal and professional experiences, extends to their roots, families and dreams.

Sexton, born and raised in Vero Beach, Florida, lives and works on his family's Treasure Hammock Ranch. Kemp resides in Micanopy, Florida, where he owns and operates Harmless Pleasures printmaking studio. These two artists have kept the inspiration and drive for art alive since completing their studies at UF. Some of their most influential mentors include UF Professors Emeriti, Ken Kerslake, Hiram Williams, Alvin Warnick and Marvin Koger.

Sexton divides his time between taking care of 300 brood cows, painting and writing. He is married to artist Sharon Sexton, and they live on their homestead on the ranch in a house they built with their hands.  Sexton has kept journal-sketch books drawn from his life since 1973 and was awarded an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the State of Florida in 2000-2001. He is author of Waldo’s Mountain: A Brief History of a Small Elevation (Waterview Press, 2000); Blood Writing, Poems (Anhinga Press, 2010) and The Empty Tomb (University of Alabama's Slash Pine Press, 2013). He presented at the 2012 National Grazing Lands Coalition Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Art and Agriculture, and as author and panelist at the Annual Florida Literary Arts Coalition Conference in St. Augustine, Florida. He performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, in 2011, 2013 and 2014 and is presently part of an exhibition, The Immortal Fountain, commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Ponce de Leon landing and discovery of Florida. On Feb. 21, 2014, he received the Citizen of the Year award from the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar.

Kemp was born in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and moved to Florida as a child in 1955. After a stint in the Navy he returned to Florida and worked in the phosphate mines, escaping to the University

of Florida in 1967 to study biology. After a Wanderjahr in Europe visiting the great museums of England, Germany, Switzerland and Italy he returned to UF’s School of Art + Art History and graduated (1974) with a BFA in Painting (Hiram Williams) and Printmaking (Kenneth Kerslake.) Kemp earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from UF graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1990.

After a career in the Alachua County library system, Kemp opened Harmless Pleasures printmaking at Icehouse Studios in McIntosh, Florida, where today the etching studio is available for workshops, classes and special projects with professional assistance. This is the scene of the collaboration with Sexton. Kemp presently divides his time between managing a small horse boarding facility and art. He lives with his wife, Dr. Marilyn Sokolof, on their farm near Micanopy. Kemp produces etchings and paintings from the center of this world. Using basic materials and methods, he has been working in direct study from nature using lines that are deliberate and thoughtful as the touchstones of his prints in landscape. He works directly on the plate, sur le motif, as much as possible, using an accumulative linear technique. For decades his printmaking was concentrated in the area of landscape and still life, but recently he has returned to the human figure addressing commingled issues of movement, intimacy and struggle.

About University Galleries

University Galleries is comprised of three art galleries at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Florida, and is an integral part of the programs and curricula of the School of Art + Art History.

University Gallery, located at the intersection of SW 13th Street and SW 4th Avenue, provides high-quality, thought-provoking exhibitions changing every two to 12 weeks that engage the university and wider community in stimulating dialogue facilitated by contemporary visual language and culture. For the past 12 years the University Gallery has collaborated with myriad UF colleges, community and regional entities in creating a trans-disciplinary venue for the visual arts. Exhibitions feature internationally-recognized artists, an annual faculty exhibition, a juried student art show and two MFA graduating thesis project shows. The 3,000 square foot space is a lively, exciting venue that is utilized for many events throughout the academic year. During the school year, University Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursdays: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Saturdays: 12 p.m.–4 p.m. The gallery is closed Mondays, Sundays and holidays. University Gallery will re-open with the fall 2014 semester.

Focus Gallery is an 850-square-foot space that presents monthly exhibitions of student-curated exhibitions featuring student and alumni artworks. Focus Gallery is located adjacent to the lobby of the School of Art + Art History’s Fine Art Building C. Focus Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and is closed weekends and holidays.

Grinter Gallery is located in the lobby area of Grinter Hall. Established by an endowment from Linton and Constance Grinter, its primary mission is to present international and multicultural artwork through student curated exhibitions. Grinter Gallery is open Monday through Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and is closed weekends and holidays.

Parking Information

Daytime parking is available in reserved spaces between Fine Arts Building C (FAC) and Inner Road. From SW 13th Street, enter campus on Museum Drive. Turn right on Newell Drive, then right on Inner Road. Turn left into the parking lot behind FAC. The first three spaces on the left are reserved for gallery use. Parking permits are issued to gallery visitors in the University Gallery.

For more information, please contact the University Gallery at (352) 273-3000 or visit our website at

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Media Contact:

Leah Craig, Public Relations and Marketing Manager

College of the Arts, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Office: 352.273.1489 | Cell: 904.419.3346,