Kathleen Gemberling Adkison

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Kathleen Gemberling Adkison
Photo of Kathleen Gemberling Adkison in her studio.jpg
Kathleen Parks

(1917-07-05)July 5, 1917
Beatrice, Nebraska
DiedAugust 3, 2010(2010-08-03) (aged 93)
Spokane, Washington
Known forPainting
MovementAbstract painting
Thomas Adkison (m. 1968)

Kathleen Gemberling Adkison (July 5, 1917 – 2010), was an American abstract painter.

Early life[edit]

Kathleen Gemberling Adkison was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, to parents Rupert Parks and Henrietta Williamson. She attended Hawthorn High School in Kearney, Nebraska for three years, and graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. She studied art and painting under Leon Derbyshire at the Cornish Institute between 1938 and 1942.[1]


"October" by Kathleen Gemberling Adkison, 1966

Adkison was the last surviving artist trained under Mark Tobey, who was Jackson Pollock's inspiration, and was considered one of the Northwest's premier female artists.

Her work has been shown in museums as early as 1960 when the Frye Art Museum staged a solo show of her work.[2] She also had a show at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, formerly the Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, in Spokane, Washington, from December 13, 1973 to January 13, 1974.[3]

Like Jackson Pollock, Adkison worked with her canvas on the floor. She is recognized as among the first female to do so. However, her focus is based on the natural beauty of rocks, trees, tall grasses and other images she perceived from her hikes with her husband.

Adkison was a critically acclaimed artist and highly recognized for her work.[4] She was among only eight women included in Northwest Art Today at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. She died in August 2010.[5][6][7]

Kathleen Gemberling Adkinson was the feature of a solo retrospective at the Cheney Cowles Museum, in Spokane, Washington from March 27, 1999 to June 27, 1999. It was the first retrospective of her work, at that museum, since 1974.

Personal life[edit]

Adkison married Thomas Adkison, an architect, in 1968. They had three children.[1] Adkison enjoyed hiking, and she climbed to the base camp at Mt. Everest twice.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Mathew Kangas (3 October 2010). "Kathleen Gemberling Adkison". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  2. ^ The Seattle Times, Sunday, January 25, 1981, p. E12.
  3. ^ http://www.northwestmuseum.org/index.cfm?CollectionID=5296&query=northwestmodernists&Artist=132704
  4. ^ Adkison remembered as ‘one of the best around’ - Spokesman.com - Sept. 16, 2010
  5. ^ Gonzaga University Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Spokesman-Review - Google News Archive Search
  7. ^ Kathleen Gemberling Adkison: Unexpected Visions