Architecture has the ability to indicate the historical, social and cultural characteristics of an urban area. In my practice, I identify these aspects by analysing the thematic, repetitive features of buildings, as well as their structural forms and materiality. The process of walking as research in order to take photographs of buildings and discover new places is the underlying foundation of my work’s creation. I carefully select photographs to communicate my ideas, taking both conceptual and aesthetic concerns into consideration. Collage informs and aids these decisions, as I am able to visualise the possible outcomes of my photographs as three-dimensional abstract forms.
I am intrigued by our human desire to categorise everything in terms of form and function. This instinct is challenged through my work as it sits somewhere between painting, sculpture, object and architecture. Materiality is therefore a fundamental aspect, as the viewer intuitively attempts to define it in terms of medium. I select particular materials in order to re-create a sense of place and portray the key characteristics of the area they are representing. This is illustrated in ‘Hackney, I love you. I lost you.’, which was inspired by a doorway I photographed in Hackney. I printed my photograph of the doorway’s graffiti onto canvas and built this into an architectural structure. Due to the texture of the material, the print appears as a realistic painting of the site, as well as a re-creation. The painterly effect aims to evoke an impression of Hackney’s creative community and culture. Colour is a vital component of my work and is significant within the architecture that I choose to photograph. Certain areas of the city embrace bright colours and welcome street art. In contrast, clear white buildings with blue glass reflect capitalist progress, with an attempt to appear as professional institutions. Colour has the ability to encourage conceptual interpretation and assert visual impact.
If successful, l would approach the GlogauAIR by exploring different areas within the city. Walking as research would allow me to analyse the architecture and experience the sense of the place first-hand. This, together with documenting my progress through photography, would provide the preliminary foundations of my project. I would study my images in order to identify the thematic, repetitive features of the different buildings I have photographed, specific to different locations. Alongside structural form and materiality, these aspects of architecture would provide valuable insight into place identity.
After my initial practical research, I would experiment with my photographs to make collages. This playful method of exploring composition allows me to visualise the possible outcomes of my images as three-dimensional abstract forms. Collage triggers ideas and would play a key part in the process of my project. The construction of these final artworks would take up the main period of my residency. They would sit somewhere between painting, sculpture, object and architecture, and reflect contrasting place identities within Berlin.
As I would be living and working on Glogauer Street, the first area I would choose to focus on would be the immediate surrounding district. The opportunity to exhibit in GloguAIR’s showcase window facing the street would therefore be a fitting place to present at least part of my project. I would also enjoy meeting members of the public and taking part in GlogauAIR’s range of creative activities. Working alongside other artists and receiving the valuable advice offered by the program would allow me to expand my knowledge on the local culture, and gain a range of different perspectives regarding places within the city. Any guidance, particularly in terms of different locations to visit and study would be both informative and greatly appreciated.
I have been living in London for the past four years while studying, and am now eager to experience a new city to develop my practice. I visited Berlin recently in mind of moving there, and was immediately captivated by the city’s creative energy and multicultural setting. I feel GlogauAIR would have a significant positive impact on my artistic practice as well as myself as a person.
2015-2018: BA (Hons) Fine Art (2:1), Chelsea College of Arts (UAL)
2014-2015: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Distinction), Camberwell College of Arts (UAL)
Emily Thomas / Hoxton Cabin / London
Disintegrating Space / The Royal Marsden Hospital / Sutton
Orbit UK Art Graduates Show / Barge House / Oxo Tower Wharf / London
Chelsea College of Arts Degree Show / London
Young Talents 2018 / La peau de l’ours / Brussels Affordable Art Fair / Tour & Taxis
Interim Show / The Cookhouse / London
UAL Olympus Photography Award 2018 / Bermondsey Project Space / London
Translations / The Morgue / London
Second Year Show / The Triangle Space / London
Honey I’m Home, A217 Gallery, London (Director and Curator)
Liminal Ecosystems, Copeland Gallery, London
Artists As Curators / A217 Gallery / London
Territories / Chelsea College of Arts / London
Cognitive Faculties, I’klectik Art Lab, London
Synonyms for Exploration / The Triangle Space / London
CCW Foundation Summer Show / Camberwell College of Arts / London
RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE
Assistant to Niall Hobhouse (Collector, author and private art dealer), Somerset 2017-2018
Gallery Assistant, Saatchi Gallery, London 2017
Arts Temp, University of the Arts London
Front of House and Invigilation Intern, Saatchi Gallery, London 2016-2017
Co-Founder, Co-Director & Co-Curator of A217 Gallery, London
The UAL Olympus Photography Prize 2018
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2016
Open Studios // March 2019, Showcase // Emily Thomas, and Meet the Artist // Emily Thomas
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