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Emily Wenman

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My work focuses on exploring the cyclical, self-renewing and metaphorical qualities of flora and fauna through paint, print and graphic manipulation. Depicting nature from an immersive, consuming perspective prompts an intuitive painting style whereby I explore lucidity, viscosity and free-flowing quality of paint, combined with a more malleable use of line/pictorial construction. This translates personal and musical visual language. Photographing/analysing material at Edinburgh’s Herbarium/ Botanical Garden’s greenhouse collection exposed me to the expansive language of flora; and how this visualization lends itself to printing processes /print-like painting. These photographs, highlighting organisation of colour /line, and how cosmic-styled lines slot together harmoniously, pay particular attention to botanical vibrancy and sensuality. Each image adopts a strong silhouette, comprised of assertive linear structures. My work sees a connection/parallel between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women. Combining botanical, print-like imagery/land formations with the female nude/internal bodily functions, (e.g. reproductive system) conveys soft, organic, sensual works.

My intention, whilst exploring botanical imagery, is maintaining an ecofeminist perspective. I explore floras symbolism, similar to 17thcentury Dutch painting whereby the exotic flower symbolizes intimacy, opulence and abundance. Highlighting the repetitive floral silhouette creates cohesive patterned designs of commercial atmospherics rather than life-like depictions. (Not dissimilar to millefleur tapestries/ William Morris’ prints.) Utilising primary, vibrant tones adds sensual contemporary perspective to the work. This unnatural, fluorescent pigment is paradoxical to more subdued, mellow, organic colours. Heightening pigmentation, combining unnatural with natural 2produces a kind of ‘genetic modification’. This commercialises/characterises the works as fantastical/otherworldly, whilst also shedding light on our current climate crisis and the positive impact coronavirus has had on the environment. I highlight the toxicity of pollutants/industrial emissions; which has notably reduced since the coronavirus outbreak as a result of the shift towards a more ‘domesticated’ lifestyle.




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