FEATURE ARTICLE

Emily Imeson | Artist

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You can check out Emily on Instagram: @emilyimeson
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After spending the last three years as a travelling artist, Southern Cross University graduate Emily Imeson has returned to the Lismore Campus to undertake her Honours in Visual Arts.

Emily was awarded a Brett Whitley Traveling Scholarship in 2020, and presented her seventh solo exhibition Ancient River, River Red, at the Saint Cloche Gallery in Sydney, January this year.

“I have big goals for my practice,” Emily said.

"I want to find ways to be relevant, to continue my art in a smart and ethical way ... to extend my practice both technically and thematically."

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Emily said that her time spent as a travelling artist cultivated work ethic, and the practical side of her craft. By coming back to University, she hopes to “connect with other intellectual art practitioners” to help figure out what she wants to say in her art.

“I don’t know if you need University, but you need fellow thinkers. It’s all about knowledge.”

Just one area that Emily wants to explore is the “colonisation that is hanging over Australia, that uncertain ground [which] as a landscape artist is something that cannot be avoided.”

“I would love to find ways to navigate it through my art,” Emily said, “although there are many other issues I’m investigating–mainly the deep ecological co-existence of all matter on this planet...”

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This is something Emily has become increasingly mindful of, especially while traveling through central Australia.

“Living out of my car was excellent for reducing to the necessities,” Emily said. “If something doesn’t have a purpose, you don’t have it. There’s no extras. Your mind is free. You can focus on living and being happy.”

For her latest exhibition Ancient River, River Red, Emily spent most of her time painting around Mparntwe, Alice Springs.

“Arrernte Country is seriously breathtaking. It’s a special place with such a strong energy. I didn’t even brush the surface of it,” Emily said.

"I can’t go to a place and make something unless I spend some time there ... learn the place, learn the landscape ... I need to sit and observe it first."

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Emily’s latest exhibition was very well received: “A lot of people were able to connect, live a fantasy through seeing the artwork, which is escapism in a sense, but escapism is beautiful.”

Emily plans to spend 2021 in a post graduate studio at the Lismore campus, furthering her knowledge and craft by creating a new collection of work that engages with questions of painting, landscape, identity, and personal psychology.

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Ancient River, River Red | Saint Cloche

"I developed ‘Ancient River, River Red’ during spring, 2020, in Tyweltherreme (Ruby Gap), Tjoritja (West McDonnell Ranges), Wurre (Rainbow Valley) and Finke Gorge National Park. Dry creek beds guarded by River Reds, and accompanied by rolling orange sand dunes, pink clay pans, colourful, boisterous birds, sunbaked reptiles, humble Desert Oaks, and opportunistic wildflowers, all led me to oasis camps. I worked on days that were too hot to think, contrasted by days of cold winds and constant rain. Painting ‘en plein air’ was guided by the flux of this time-honoured place. I learnt to listen to the land, adopt the patience, humility and adaptability required to yield to nature’s course."

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You can view more of this exhibition held at Saint Cloche here: ANCIENT RIVER, RIVER RED