Emmy Mikelson


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Emmy Mikelson
About the author

I grew up in rural Iowa and I have been living and working in New York City for the past 10 years. I received my BFA from the University of Iowa and my MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. I work predominantly in painting and video. My work employs abstraction to describe speculative spaces and life. I believe that it is only through stepping outside of human perspectives that we are able to understand our place in expansive ecological and cultural networks. I have exhibited my work nationally and internationally and it has been featured in the magazines Fresh Paint, Paint Pulse, 491 and The Round: A Journal of Literary and Visual Arts (Brown University). I have also published text and artwork in the experimental architecture journals Nova Organa, KTISMA, T3xture, Moinopolis, among others. My work is represented on the Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts (VAEA) curated artist registry. I have been an invited speaker at the Center for Transformative Media at Parsons the New School for Design, NY; Maysles Cinema, Harlem, NY; Pace University, NY; and I was a guest curator for the James Gallery at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). I currently teach new media courses in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Baruch College, CUNY, and I teach freehand drawing summer workshops in the School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, New York, NY. My paintings explore speculative spaces that are at times familiar to landscapes or architecture while maintaining a persistent sense of estrangement and distance. They are geometric and abstract with layers of colors that build to form ambiguously scaled terrains. Luminosity acts as a constructive counterpoint to the pictorial plane. The translucent layers in the paintings create a series of after-images that generate a spatial depth with shifting vantage points. Trompe l’oeil swatches of fur interject a bodily presence, which could either be human, animal or microbial. The paintings point to a space where the distinctions between buildings, bodies, skin and sky have dissolved.