Remembering Jac Kephart

“Art is a wonderful gift.”

It could be said that human life is as unique and vast as the lights in the night sky. Every so often, one light shines brighter than the rest; that light was Jac Kephart. On May 16, 2019, we said goodbye to local legend Jac Kephart. Jac was an influential member of the arts community and continually showed his support to numerous organizations including The Art Center and Colorado Mesa University.

Jac was a major supporter of the arts, and The Art Center. He volunteered as a member of The Art Center Board of Trustees, he gave one hundred percent donations to The Art Center’s annual fine art auction every year for more than a decade, and served on several Art Center committees including the auction/benefit committee and the exhibition committee.

He mentored countless artists of all ages, and inspired artists and art lovers across the country.

Jac and his wife, Pat, ran Jac’s House of Flowers in Grand Junction, Colorado. Jac worked as a florist during the day and created art by night until his career as a painter became fully sustainable.

Jac attended Mesa State College, now Colorado Mesa University, with aspirations of attaining a degree in architecture. However, his talent as a fine art painter led his life in a different direction.

Early on, Jac explored experimental abstract compositions, but his ability as a representational painter caused him to veer towards the creation of traditional painted landscapes. In the 1990s, he made the leap back to the abstract and nonrepresentational art he had experimented with in the past. This injected a renewed enthusiasm for art making into Jac’s life. He was in search of transcendence. His work conveyed things marvelous, those things that are indescribable, things beyond words. Jac compared his work to the discovery of Tutenkhamun’s tomb where a dimly lit room revealed the presence of precious metals and stones. “I want my pieces to leave an impression of something interesting and beautiful that you can’t quite relate to…That is how I want the viewer to see my work–the glint of colors, golds, coppers and silvers, and different materials without perceiving the definite shape of an object.” Jac’s work has a textural quality with strong geometric lines intermingled with flowing organic shapes. Layers of stratified paint and metal appear as if they are carved into the surface. His work has a sculptural quality and projects off of the surface of Birchwood panels that are draped in folds of earth tones balanced by small layers of saturated paint. Distinctive horizon lines with deep grooves through the surface give his artwork added depth and balance.

Jac’s work is in art collections across the world, and he is represented by Ratliff Gallery (Sedona, AZ),  Deloney  Newkirk Gallery (Santa Fe, NM), and Breckenridge Gallery (Brekcenridge, CO). Jac donated works to the Permanent Collection of the Western Colorado Center for the Arts and Colorado Mesa University’s Wubben Hall Math and Science Building. Jac’s work and passion for art speaks for itself in many ways, but he described it best when he said ,“I am not documenting subjects or making statements; I’m creating original creations and trying to make an emotional connection. I want the viewer to connect with their viewing experience and be happy when they look at my paintings. I’ll paint for the rest of my life always searching for that one ultimate creation-–art is a wonderful gift.”

Photo by Catherine Mayer, Jac’s great-niece


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