Rat Portraits is Emma’s first solo exhibition and is showing at A Gallery, in Preston, Victoria, Australia from the 19th August to 3rd of September 2016. The exhibition consists of paintings and sculpture from 2014 to 2016 and a live painting demonstration by the artist at the exhibition opening displaying the application of medium that creates the unique paintings displayed.
“These paintings were created in a state of mania and insomnia. A place where I feel I have clarity on issues in our culture that rattle my morals. I strive for perfection when creating artwork but, in this case, I challenge myself to achieve this through using materials and media that do not provide the traditional graphic qualities of cartoon imagery. Using acrylic gloss and house paints, applied with a feather onto a horizontal canvas on the ground, I mindfully apply black and white layers to create a texture that is at the same time chaotic and deliberate. I put a lot of effort into making the artworks look untidy.
At university I briefly studied children’s literature where I felt troubled by the use of cartoon characters that, over time, morphed into corporate Western iconography. One “brand” in particular has dominated moving-pictures aimed at children in the last century and has altered itself culturally and technologically to suit its target audience. The parody explored in these works shows skinless, empty portraits of an icon begging to be loved and consumed. The portrait’s repetitive psudo-masculine features reflect a deeper issue of gender in the corporate world, where to me the patriarch still exists as a “trusted” leader and role model for child and adult consumers alike.
This face of popular culture that changes overtime, but alas never ages, shows a darker side of the movie screen; A desperate journey from entertainment to enterprise that has withered the very soul of the original character depicted in this body of work.”