From Toronto, Ontario, James Kemp attended art classes at the University of Toronto’s Hart House and studied under Group of Seven member, Arthur Lismer. After university, he joined the Navy where he drew cartoons and illustrations as a therapeutic escape from the experience of war. These drawings were published in notable magazines such as MacLean’s. Kemp’s painting style in the early 1950’s reflects his interest in artists such as Cezanne, Picasso and Ben Nicholson, with his similar style and subjects, such as single figures and still life. The featured work, Three Fish and Onion, displays his use of still life, and painting technique, which fills the canvas with emotion. After a heart attack in 1956, his work became softer and more expressive, as displayed in the featured work. Kemp concerned himself with the individual and the need for fulfilment and survival, rather than expressing and entangling a painting with any hidden social message.