I spent my childhood outside in rural Vermont, taking care of animals and watching wildlife grow. As a kid I photographed my surrounding world extensively, always documenting, always looking. I loved art classes in high school and first worked with oil paint at the State University of New York Potsdam in 2004. I found the challenge of oil exciting and completely engrossing.
I think of my work as a mix of abstraction and realism. With it, I seek to communicate subtle narrative and commentary on our current culture. I am beginning a shift into using more plant-based imagery and questioning what it means to have a particular plant on a dinner table or in a yard. The privileges and beliefs that come with iceberg lettuce versus arugula (or dandelion leaves versus cabbage) reveal differences in class systems and political associations.
In the Flora and Fauna exhibition, four paintings were started at a residency at Vermont Studio Center (VSC) in June 2015.
Here is an excerpt from my time there:
While parts of the country were fighting drought, the Vermont sky opened up with rain. I would keep the windows open, breath in the wet air and paint for hours. When the rain broke (about every two days or so), I was exhausted from painting and needed to think before beginning again. During those breaks in the rain I spent my time walking, writing and reading outside, documenting what caught my eye and turning over thoughts. Everything was so green, so rich.
It was summer but the rainy days were cold. I wore a fleece hat and kept an extra pair of dry socks in my studio for the next rainfall painting session.
I have only mentioned my working habits at the residency, which was one half of the experience. The other half were the 45 or so wonderful visual artists and writers that were also residing at VSC and whom I shared my meals with. The experience is one I recommend to anyone looking for a nourishing and intensive space to develop work.
During the year I teach painting and drawing at Rochester Institute of Technology and spend as much time as possible in my home studio, developing oily canvases and putting together plans for future works.
View Emily’s artwork online at emilyglassart.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Emily’s work in our current exhibition, Flora and Fauna. The exhibition is up through Friday, February 12.