Mark Brest van Kempen has created a variety of artworks using the landscape itself as sculptural material. From the Free Speech Monument on the UC Berkeley campus to Land Exchange at the National Academy of Art in China, his work explores the range of emotions and issues that are embodied in our complex relationship to the environment. He has spoken around the country and abroad on the possibilities of creating artwork that functions outside the museum /gallery context and that brings aesthetic and symbolic meaning to everyday situations.
He has received numerous commissions for public art projects including the San Francisco Art Commission, the City of San Jose, the City of Seattle and the Haas Foundation.
In 2012 Brest van Kempen was one of three Americans invited by the German Government to submit designs for a national Reunification Monument in Leipzig.
His work has been presented in several books including Lucy Lippard’s The Lure of the Local and Peter Selz’s Art of Engagement as well as many publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times, Art in America, and the LA Times.
Exit Art in New York, The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena and The Richmond Art Center featured his performance project Living From Land in which he lived entirely from the land in a wilderness area for one month.
Brest van Kempen has been Artist in Residence in several institutions including Dalsland Museum in Sweden, the Headlands Center for the Arts in California and the University of Utah's Marva and John Warnock biennial residency. He has received a California Arts Council Fellowship and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, Stanford University and California College of the Arts.