Sarah Emerson, an abstract landscape artist based in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke at the University of Tennessee on Thursday, Sept. 29. Emerson enlightened her audience as she described her perspective and the process of creating her artwork.
Emerson found an attraction to abstract art and combined that with ideas to which she had an emotional connection, drawing inspiration from many worldly events. She describes her art as “dark,” but tries to encompass the idea that there is beauty in everything. She elaborated that her artwork portrays the idea that life is finite. She mentioned the “unbearable flatness of being” multiple times, elaborating that painting can stop time and space. Her landscapes are symbolic as she tries to incorporate a variety of literary symbols. Her goal is to create a mystical atmosphere: a combination of the morbid, hopeful, and unknown.
Audience member, Kaitlin Morton, admitted that she had no prior knowledge of anything art related, but stated, “the presentation challenged my outlook on art and I now see the work it requires to create an installment, mentally and physically.”
Emerson strives to create artificial space that can embody a history. She says that, “history is a landscape of events and becomes a character on its own.” H
er images portray the idea that life is constantly changing and that nothing is concrete. She makes her art large, and said she wants the viewer to be absorbed by it. Scale is important to her because it creates a vulnerability between the pieces and the viewer.
“Emerson’s work was very interesting and being able to hear her perspective on the work and the process she undergoes when creating the pieces makes me look at the pieces in a new light,” viewer Cam Shelton said.
Emerson’s installment is featured in the gallery of the Art and Architecture building.
Edited by Katy Hill