Photo courtesy of Hannah Neal

Photo courtesy of Hannah Neal

About Emma Kearney

An artist based somewhere in between, Emma Kearney navigates memory, impermanence, and labor.

I make objects, often alone (it, myself, both), sometimes clustered, through various modes of assembly: sculpting, painting, printmaking, illustrating. These are not so much disciplinary categorizations describing the different media of my creative work—the list does not read sculpture, painting, printmaking, illustration—as they are unfinished and continually evolving ways of personally reconciling our precarious and always passing present.

I’m interested in how scattered and muddled trains of thought can develop through material things, claiming space in defiance of a world that would prefer they be straighten out, resolved and packaged up. I aim not for a larger argument, neat conclusion, or stylistic refinement (I nurture muck and messiness), but rather a non-linear probing of conceptual, formal, and visual cohesion. How can our memories, dreams, and impressions linger and preoccupy in a physical form that implicates the harsh social, political, and economic conditions of their existence?

Through my work and the audience it reaches, I aspire to recirculate the abject, the forgotten, and the mundane, fostering a relation between then and now in order to reveal the mutations to our systems of value and production, pre- and post-industrial. In recovering scraps of physical narratives that were once materialized—glued, wrapped, stitched, painted, drawn—together, I aim to mark polarities between the ideal and the idealized, the accepted and the rejected. I see parallel mechanisms between the contested subjectivity of an object steeped in desire and repulsion and disputed notions of personhood under an extractive patriarchal capitalism.