Joseph artist Rob Kemp will present photographs and reflections of his recent trip to Europe 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1., at Josephy Center in Joseph.
“On Pilgrim Paths: Sacred Sites of Medieval France, Wales and Spain” will pay particular attention to the architecture and sculpture of the Romanesque and Gothic periods.
This was his eighth trip to Europe, the first in 1978 as an exchange student at the end of his college years at the University of Washington.
“I was gone for 4.5 months and fell in love with Provence before the gentrification,” Kemp said. “It is a different place now.”
He also took the opportunity to venture outside of Avignon, France, and traveled about the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
“I wore Tony Lama cowboy boots, hitch-hiked with a backpack and stayed in crowded hostels,” Kemp said. “Smoking was everywhere then, but the food and wine have never been better.”
Kemp spent two months in Europe this past spring touring and visiting family. Much of his stint was spent in southwestern France, as well as a few sites in Provence, Wales and Catalonia.
In the Middle Ages, thousands of Christian pilgrims traveled a network of routes leading to sacred places associated with saints and miracles. Significant among these routes was the Way of St. James, or the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
There were numerous routes across France leading to the Camino, and churches and monasteries along the routes began to collect holy relics for themselves.
Some became sites of pilgrimage on their own merit. Many of these places have changed little in a thousand years, and the routes still attract pilgrims who walk hundreds of kilometers of the historic paths each year.
In order to visit the most significant sites, Kemp traveled by rented car on back roads, criss-crossing the major routes to visit medieval sites including Rocamadour, Perigueux and Conques. In addition, Rob visited secluded medieval monasteries of the French and Spanish Pyrenees including St. Martin du Canigou and St. Pere de Rodes.
He will also present information on pilgrimage travel, including lodging in pilgrim hostels and monasteries.
Kemp has exhibited paintings and photography at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts in most years since 1998 when he moved to the county, and several times at shows at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture.
He also I also curated a show of western painting and photography there.