May 17 – June 3, 2017
Emma Beer’s practice investigates pictorial illusion through abstraction. In her paintings, formal elements such as line and edge become an important means of exploring surface, space and movement. The artist employs layers of luminous, coloured glazes to build up fields of hard-edged colour.
Beer’s process based works investigate the potential of painting through an exploration of the various physical states paint can embody. Her works propose a tension between two distinct histories of modernist abstraction: hard edge geometry counter-posed by an expressive, painterly gesture. In Beer’s body of work, pictorial elements collide against territories of spontaneous and loosely applied mark making. Over time, emerging from what might initially appear as purely dynamic imagery, the paintings reveal themselves to the audience as complex and carefully constructed surfaces.
Format and composition play a fundamental role in Beer’s work. Beer utilises blank areas and the concept of the void, as a literal and metaphoric engagement with painting’s relationship to technology. The pairing of chromatically vivid spaces with darker voids to activate and challenge technological developments is influenced by Yves Klien, Callum Innes and Mary Heilmann. As such, Beer revisits Yves Klein’s attitudes towards Minimalism and his references to the ‘void’. Beer’s body of work interrogates the concept of the ‘void’ in contemporary culture, posing the question, what the notion of “transcendence through painting” might mean today.
Emma Beer was born in country Victoria and grew up between the Murray River and the Riverina. She currently lives and works in Canberra. Since graduating from The Australian National University School of Art in 2009 with First Class honours, Beer has had numerous solo exhibitions in Australia and internationally. Beer has been included in the several curatorial projects in 2017, including ‘Emerging from Canberra’ at Watters Gallery and The Drill Hall Gallery’s ’10 Years of Collecting at the ANU’. Beer’s work is held in both public and private collections throughout Australia, Singapore, England, Scotland, France and Spain.