MA Painting – Camberwell College of Arts, 2021
Emily Wenman’s work focuses on exploring the cyclical, self-renewing and metaphorical qualities of flora through paint, print, textiles, and graphic manipulation. They consider the formalization of flora, its expansive visual language and symbolism. Translating micrographic botanical imagery on a large scale, Emily identifies the connection between plant matter and bodily references. Depicting the organic from an imposing perspective has prompted an intuitive painting style, emphasizing a less assertive, more malleable use of line and pictorial construction. They use abstract expressionist processes of removal, soak staining, layering, and stencilling to accentuate paints visceral, musical and aleatoric qualities.
Emily’s work identifies a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women. Employing a ‘toxicity of colour’ the artist alludes to a ‘manipulated landscape’ of highly cultured flowers and genetically modified plants - these reflect the anthropogenic impact humans have on nature and contemporary cultures obsession with preserving youth and beauty. Influenced by ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ and forms of ‘Expanded Painting’, the work discusses gendered forms, sensuous experience, and the use of materiality to evoke meaning and emotion.
Utilising luminous and iridescent hues replicated from the natural world, Emily considers the hyper-intelligence and otherworldliness of nature, specifically aquatic botany, and its relationship to bodily concepts/anthropomorphic landscapes. With reference to ‘bioluminescence’ and ‘structural colour’, the work highlights nature as ethereal, fantastical and ‘sublime’, in turn defining the boundaries between botanical material and its connection to the artificial and synthetic.
"The visceral, diaphanous, and aquatic, malleable characteristics of paint as a material inspires me. I utilise its thin, liquid properties to create a personal visual painterly language, accentuating streamline, soft, undulating forms and organic shapes/floral impressions."