Dame Joan Sutherland Fund recipient, Visual Artist
Emma Lindsay is an Australian visual artist whose practice includes painting, photography and installation. Lindsay’s current Extinction Project explores the artificial nature of encounter with extinct and endangered species in the natural history museum collection archive.
Lindsay graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with First Class Honours. Her work has been featured in the Studio TV Artbreak documentary series (2011), She has been awarded residencies at the Baer Art Centre, Iceland, and the Bathurst Regional Gallery Hill End Residency, NSW, and is undertaking a two-month professional development and research artist residency at the Point B Worklodge in Brooklyn, New York in late 2014. Lindsay has been a finalist in the 2011 Churchie National Emerging Art Award, the 2012 Redlands Westpac Emerging Art Award, and the 2014 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. Her work is featured in current exhibitions Animal Fan Fair, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, and Bimblebox: Art-Science-Nature, currently touring Australia until March 2017.
Lindsay’s paintings are held in the public collections of the Baer Art Center (Iceland), Moreton Bay Regional Council, University of Queensland Art Museum, World Museum Liverpool (UK), and in private collections in Australia, Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, UK, and USA. She is represented by Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.
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Who are you as an artist?
I am a painter, photographer and installation visual artist. My current Extinction Project explores the representation of human-related climate change issues, specifically the extinction of species as encountered in the landscape of the natural history museum archive.
What prompted you to come to the US?
The offer of a two-month residency at the Point B Worklodge enabled a long-term goal to live and work in New York City as an artist.
What did your course/project involve?
During my residency I undertook a number of research and professional development activities: completing workshops in Japanese woodblock printing and paper making; undertaking field trips and documenting extinct birds held in natural history museum collections in Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York; met with a number of high profile artists working in the field of extinction and contemporary art; exhibited in two exhibitions (American Australian Association Reception October 2, and the Point B open studios November Edition), and visited a number of commercial and public art galleries in New York over the two months to study painters.
What were the highlights of your experience?
Meeting the artists Stephen Chambers, Alexis Rockman and Mark Dion. Visiting the Dia: Beacon and Frick collections, and working regularly with the Metropolitan museum collections. Being able to meet a number of Australian and international artists in visual art, and see performances in other artforms of jazz, dance and theatre. Living here really enabled me to understand my profession and the gallery exhibition system more clearly, and the importance of having a network and personal introductions.
Where did you find inspiration?
I found inspiration in every part of New York City, a city I view as the creative capital of the world. Jazz, dance, theatre, art, books- I went to book signings, live and screened performances, regularly studied paintings up close. The watercolours and prints I made during the residency were based on photographs taken at the Smithsonian in Washington, and I found the experience of visiting Dia: Beacon influenced this work in unexpected ways.
What will you take away from this experience?
The experience has confirmed that I want to find a way to live and work in New York City for a longer term. That as an artist it is very important to be challenged by the best artists, art and other successful practitioners of cultural creativity, in a city where these contemporary artists and creators practice at the highest level. That access to collections of art with cutting edge contemporary and quality old master paintings are essential to understand techniques and painting strategies of my vocation, and to move forward in my own practice.
What is your favorite piece of work that resulted from this experience?
The flamingo Japanese woodblock print made at the Lower East Side Print Workshop.
What are you currently working on?
I am still working on the watercolour bird portraits made from Smithsonian photographs, which are being created to aid the composition of a major new diptych of paintings to be completed in my home studio.
What is your vision for the future?
My vision of the future is to be living and working in New York as a self-sufficient practicing artist.
What advice would you give other artists aspiring to come to the US?
Make your goals realistic if you are here for a short term- gallery representation should not be your first goal as this takes time, networks and introductions. Plan your stay, work out what you want to get from the experience of working here. NYC is full of options- know your focus but be open to the possibility that other forms of art may influence and expand your own work in unexpected ways.
[Interview: December 2014]
Artwork 1: Simulacra #38, 2009
Oil on canvas paper
Artwork 2: Extinct desert bandicoot, 2014
Oil on Belgian linen