Emily Besser / World of Things


This exhibition is a collection of paintings and drawings driven by gesture, colour and feeling. In her practice, Emily aims to push the flatness of paint and paper into objecthood, by playing with the depth and sight-lines we expect from traditional landscape painting. Stopping short of literal fixtures, embellished by titles suggesting objects and ideas from areas of study like History, Anthropology and Religion, the works are an exploration of mark-making, made in solitude, over long periods of time.

These works are in conversation with a set of small clay objects made with delicate air-drying clay and found materials. The clay objects echo the motifs that can be found in the paintings: imagined stupas, niches, grottoes, cairns, shrines, smoke-stacks, road-markers, ancient beehives and other historical and mythological objects and relics that are steeped in symbolism.

“In my painting practice, I paint mostly from an inner-life, where images rule and words come second. I play in colour with shapes that speak to me and seem to hold some mystery and ambiguity. My process involves collecting images, found or made by me. Once found, I keep them in the form of a memory, or in a scrapbook, and increasingly, in my phone. As I begin to incorporate these collected ‘things’ into my work, which are repeated over time, a motif emerges and it becomes a language of sorts, in a ‘landscape’ or ‘world’ of its’ own.”

Emily Besser is a painter who lives and works in Sydney. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with First Class Honours in Painting at Sydney College of the Arts in 2001, and has intermittently exhibited her work since then, while also studying and working in Native Title, Environmental and Planning law.

World of Things will run from 9 June – 9 July. To see a full listing of Emily’s solo exhibition click here.