Week 5: Artist Conversation – Emily Barnett

Exhibition Information

Artist: Emily Barnett

Exhibition: Recent Works on Paper

Media: Printmaking and Lithograph

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: emilyannebarnett.com

Instagram: @emily_b_anne

Emily Barnett is currently an MFA printmaking candidate at CSULB and she received her BA in Art from Humboldt State University in 2014. “Recent Works on Paper” consists of artwork that are intended to visualize experiences with mental illness. She uses an image based on a portrait of herself as a young child looking anxious. She states, “The paintings and painting elements are translating my personal experiences. The painting themselves can be influenced by past or current emotions.”

Former Analysis: Out of her five artworks in the gallery, three of them have a young child looking afraid and anxious, possibly scared of what’s in the “beyond.” All but one artwork have teddy bears incorporated into them, whether it’s a small teddy or a large teddy. Her portraits are colorful, varying from blue, purple, pink, green, gray, orange, black, and yellow. There is one artwork that stands out from the rest and it is the one with scribbles. She says that she is making her art intentionally childlike and the scribbled does look as if a child had created this piece.

Content Analysis: Her art is intended to show viewers what a person with mental illness might experience hence the scribbles throughout her paintings. Her work is also based on what she’s been through, her experiences, and emotions she’s felt. She says, “I am also making my art intentionally childlike, this stylistic choice is more visually connect to childhood and by this I try to evoke experiences relating to or are connected to childhood.”

My Experience: I have never seen a work like Emily’s so walking in to her gallery for the first time was interesting. I didn’t know the true meaning behind her work so I just saw a young and innocent child who was afraid. After I read her artist statement, I was able to see the connection between her art and what it is intended to show.



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