Emma Talbot’s work explores visual autobiography in a truly unique way. Through drawing, painting, animation and three-dimensional making, she articulates internal narratives as visual poems or associative ruminations, based on her own experience, memories and psychological projections. Incorporating her own writing, often informed by literary and poetic sources, Talbot combines painted text, figurative depiction, mark-making and pattern to shift the registers and readings of her work between the symbolic and the everyday. The imagery in her work is direct and hand-drawn, resulting in immediate, open, inventive representations of what is seen in the mind’s eye.
‘My work moves between an internal, personal, private scope of thinking and a wider, external response to prevalent contemporary concerns. The movement between the two spaces of thinking is very important, because it encompasses the continual shift we all experience between inner monologue and external world.’
The relationship between the physical presence of the work and the fleeting nature of the subject is considered through particular materials: delicate drawings on thin, hand-made papers are folded and lightly fixed to the walls; larger painted works are made directly onto silk, which is sewn in sections to make drifting hangings and installations; her three-dimensional pieces are constructed with simple processes, such as papier-mâché and stitched soft forms; and her most recent moving image works are stop-motion animations with musical scores and ambient soundscapes composed by the artist herself.
Talbot’s work considers complex issues such as feminist theory and storytelling; ecopolitics and the natural world; and pertinent questions regarding our shifting relationships to technology, language and communication. For this exhibition, when our world is more uncertain than ever, Talbot imagines future environments where humankind has been flung out of a capitalist-driven society of digital technologies and must look towards more ancient and holistic ways of crafting, making and belonging to survive.
Text by Eoin Dara