Emma McIntyre at Chris Sharp Gallery

Artist: Emma McIntyre

Exhibition title: Pour plenty on the worlds

Venue: Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles, US

Date: January 23 – March 6, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles

Chris Sharp Gallery is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, a solo of the New Zealand-born, Los Angeles-based artist, Emma McIntyre.

Emma McIntyre practices what could be considered “promiscuous abstraction.” This is due in part to how she handles medium and in part to her frame of reference. Pictorially, her paintings are liable to resemble landscapes, events, and explosive, if lyrical recapitulations of the history of abstraction, or all of the above. Their apparent, action-packed spontaneity is belied by the obvious complexity of thought and breadth of art historical engagement that informs them. Looking at her recent works, one might think of everything from the work of Joan Mitchell to scenes or stills from Carolee Schneemann’s Fuses (1967) to the most tempestuous landscapes of Turner (with little Whistler’s smuggled in here and there), Fragonard, early Jack Whitten, and Michaela Eichwald, to name a few.

McIntyre’s fluid application of paint, which includes varieties of brush work, staining, oil stick, painting directly from the oil tube, spills and pours, and prints from her own body speak to a lack of allegiance to mark making. This lack of allegiance at once acknowledges the richness of the history of the medium in which she’s working and her refusal to be limited by any of the modes, schools or pieties of which it is composed. It’s as if she perceived the history of abstraction as a panoply of languages to be liberally borrowed from, not in order to create anything like pastiche, but to help her articulate frank and unfettered incidents of a body thinking on canvas. Her’s is a sensualization of abstraction, and all the sophisticated messiness this might entail. As such, McIntyre’s work collapses standard binaries– cognition/intuition, invented/found, experiential/discursive, process/intention– around this kind of painting while seeking to situate the body, and, crucially, issues of female agency, at the center of the discussion. In doing so, her work opens up exciting new horizons in contemporary abstract painting.

Emma McIntyre (b. 1990, Auckland, New Zealand) graduated with a BVA (Painting) from AUT University in 2011, and an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2016. In 2019 she was awarded a Fulbright General Graduate award to study an MFA at ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena C.A., where she is currently in her second year. Selected exhibitions include: Heat, Mossman, Wellington (2020); The Blue of it, 21 Shaddock st, Auckland (2019); Memory Disco, Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington (2019); Rose on Red, Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington (2018); Pink Square Sways, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2017); A Trip to the Beach, Play_station, Wellington (2017); Painting: A Transitive Space, ST Paul St Gallery Three, Auckland (2016).