Emily Mae Smith character

The contemporary artist I choose goes by the name Emily Mae Smith who is born in 1979. This Austin Texas native has created a feministic phenomenal character that’s featured in Christopher Priest’s 1995 novel The Prestige. It is stated that the scientist in the storyline build an unintentionally flawed machine that’s meant to allow physical teleportation for a staged act during a magician debut. Unfortunately the machine creates duplicates of the original person (Emily’s Telsa Girls). Emily unique character is integrated with feminist theories about corporeality, on a futuristic sci-fi background.

Her paintings are considered to be linked back to a larger body of work that questions the woman’s corporeality. Emily’s new series of pieces manages to incorporate a particular sign system that reveals important messages. . Her characters are placed within deceptively beautiful places, soft environments that actually suggest a sense of no space. Embracing movement in majority of her piece at a time where the digital era displays images with flatten subjects, Emily smooth the bodies of here figure’s surface creating a brilliant disconnect from the construction. Using the platform of her figures to dig deeper, Emily inscribes something new in the sign system to convey a message. Example, the close up of a pretty face is a familiar sign system to sell makeup, beer, insurance, or any product that comes to mind. Emily uses that method to conduct space for interiority, psychology, and subjectivity.

In western culture interiority, psychology, and subjectivity are completely absent as a visual language. Smith replays the romanticized forms of the female body from pre modern visual styles like Surrealism or Art Nouveau and recreates the notion of the icon that becomes an avatar or self-portrait with the innocently sexual charge of a fairytale character. The tedious details of oil paint reveal several layers of meanings, and in some cases the water paint is a metaphor for paint itself. The front view of her subjects blends painting with the visual vocabulary of new technologies, creating a clear and lucid take on a period “that’s ripe with debate over what it means to be a human in one kind of body or another” as the artist herself puts it.

-Justin Crayton


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