Cuteness and craziness collide in energetic displays in Emerson’s paintings and murals. The Atlanta-based artist’s contemporary landscapes present a bizarre version of the world, inspired by actual places and how they are affected by time, science, and human intervention. For “Ruin in Reverse,” Emerson questions the strange occurrences that make up our physical reality. The exhibition’s title is a reference to George Musser’s book, Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon that Reimagines Space and Time, in which the author tries to unravel the mystery of not only space and time but also the origins of the cosmos.
Space is the venue of physics; it’s where things exist, where they move and take shape, a concept Emerson embodies in her signature mix of geometric patterns and imaginary forms. Her images present magical and complex ideas about the theory of physics and our changing and ever-expanding universe. Within her compositions is a loopy macrocosm of skull-like formations and googly eyed characters peeking through wavy lines and shapes. The exhibition offers twenty new acrylic paintings, sparkling with rhinestones carefully affixed to each piece. Emerson explains that her work mixes darkness within a beautiful, bright setting, as that is the way of nature she is familiar with:
“My work presents viewers with highly-stylized versions of nature that propose impossible scenes that blend reality with abstraction. I do not try to replicate nature or real space; instead I address the disorientation and dizziness created by a world without a recognizable or stable horizon. I want to create the impression that the world is folding in on itself, perpetually transforming and adapting to the unavoidable decay and chaos created by human intervention and natural phenomenon.
In my compositions, I distort the physical laws that govern the real world because concepts like gravity, inertia, and locality do not govern our emotional perspective of the world. It is amazing to me that a world so beautiful can also be so violent. Although, terror and tranquility never truly exist simultaneously in the physical, the two emotions certainly reside concurrently in our memories. As it is presented, painting can flatten time, space, and memory in pictures allowing room for a reconciliation of otherwise incompatible states of being. The paintings exhibited in ‘Ruin in Reverse’ continue to build on the visual narrative of a landscape that is constantly in the process of ruin and renewal.”
The opening reception for “Ruin in Reverse” is Saturday, August 19 from 7-11pm at Corey Helford Gallery. The reception is open to the public and the exhibition is on view through September 16.
About Sarah Emerson:
Sarah Emerson is an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Emerson graduated from the Atlanta College of Art in 1998 and completed her Masters Degree at Goldsmiths College, London in 2000. She has exhibited her work in galleries throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including White Columns, NY, Cosmic Gallery, Paris, the MOCA Jacksonville, Fl., and the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. Her work has been published in Noplaceness: Art in a Post Urban Landscape, Stickers Deluxe: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, and New American Paintings in 2012, 2007, and 2003. Emerson was awarded the 2014/2015 MOCA GA Working Artist Project Grant selected by Siri Engberg, Senior Curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
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