To be a college student is to be exposed to the larger world through academia; to say it is a formative experience is, of course, a gross understatement. For some, the particular details of their upbringing might provide an even more pronounced contrast in the experience, as they are suddenly exposed to elements that that dramatically expand their frame of reference.
“Growing up in a religious family,” explains Emily Meredith, “I wasn’t exposed to many worldly things. My parents were very protective and conservative so the idea of the naked body was not something discussed around the house. When I came to college, I took figure-drawing classes to study the human body and how it sat in space. I grew to love the curves and angles of the figure.”
Meredith is certainly not the first art student to fall in love with the human form, but her work still expresses that inevitable sense of wonder and discovery that comes from exploring what is essentially the truth of our own existence. One’s own body is taken for granted; the last thing we see when we look in the mirror is beauty and mystery, being mired in the daily trappings of hygiene and fashion. Meredith’s work here is grounded in the expected but nevertheless compelling life drawing studies, but she has begun to investigate the humanity contained within the body through abstracted imagery of body parts and character illustrations.
“I am inspired by the colors and techniques of figure painters like Lucian Freud and how he captures the details and vitality of the human tones. I also try to use simplistic color shapes like that of Lena Rivo and Gideon Rubin to find form. The movement of Duchamp’s futurist paintings influences some of my other works. My artwork is focused around the experiences of my life and the emotions that I feel, and my pieces are an expression of how I perceive the world around me.”
“The Beauty Marks series is based on the idea that our body flaws make us who we are. They have stories behind them and they show us how time has passed. I wanted viewers to see their insecurities as strengths and beautiful parts of themselves.”
Meredith will be a part of the May 2018 Senior Thesis show at the 849 Gallery at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University.
Hometown: Crestwood, Kentucky
Education: BA candidate in Painting and Drawing with a concentration in Illustration at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (Spring 2018).
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.