Emily Besser

Unravelling / A Place I Know

August 4 - August 18 2018

Sydney-based Emily Besser's new body of works on paper project a sense of resonant integration. Close to her home-studio is the Girrahween National Park, a small in scale but very dense bushland set amidst a highly urbanized area. Trails strewn in multi-hued fallen leaves meander through sandstone outcrops, past mossy-banked rock pools and a cave with Aboriginal art and middens. In the branches overhead are colonies of bats awaiting the twilight hour.

Emily's paintings map the experience of her contemplative daily walks along the forest's pathways. Inspiration is everywhere! The highly abstracted, mixed media landscapes have a kind of life we do not normally see. She understands that the material world, although appearing dense and solid, is fundamentally made up of vibratory connective energy. The works capture the flux of nature and her creative spirit through imagery and the spontaneity of approach. The artist is expressing a state of awareness in which inner and outer worlds simultaneously manifest.

In an exploration of mark-making possibilities, multiple perspectives of forest scenery are overlapped in gestural layers of paint and drawing. Smears, smudges and accidental drips obscure usual sightlines and disrupt a representational view of the environment. Emily explains that she approaches each piece as though it was a visual poem, playing in colour with shapes and lines that speak to her and seem to hold some mystery and ambiguity.

Emily communicates the euphoric feeling of flow that can come after hours of uninterrupted painting in solitude. Interestingly, she finds that her art-making technique is best achieved when kneeling on the floor, crouched over a work. She tells of acrylic tubes and sundry other media being scattered nearby so as to see all options at once and grab what's needed. From the layers of pigment, textures and calligraphic motifs an abstract narrative gradually unfolds and becomes aesthetically meaningful.

The titles of the individual works give hint to their initial inspiration but Emily stresses that the intention is never to render identifiable landmarks. When this sometimes happens inadvertently, it is welcomed as a kind of serendipity. She describes each piece as holding the memory of a journey through an all-encompassing, kaleidoscopic ‘feeling-scape'. Her hope is that the viewer will participate in this immersive quality to find one's own presence therein. Emily's thoroughly intuitive, visceral process unravels the essence of a place she knows, very well.


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