Emily Watkins Artists statement
I am interested in the idea of hybrid forms as they allow for the possibility of balance both in terms of the visual and the conceptual. The blurring of boundaries within my hybrid forms allows them to become highly suggestive, creating the possibility of multiple interpretations of the piece as feminine, masculine, naturalistic and industrial.
Repetition has become a key component of my work, I use repeated forms in order to reflect the way elements in nature replicate and repeat. I predominantly work in industrial materials such as steel, resin, fibreglass and rubber. These materials contrast with the natural forms I create changing the way these forms and materials are visually read. I also use found objects which I select both for their mechanical quality and for their ability to stand in for natural forms.
My work is influenced by scientific imagery specifically botanical drawings and imagery of microscopic organisms. I am also influenced by the materiality of minimalist forms produced in the 60s and 70s, I am inspired by the way artists in this era introduced industrial materials into sculptural practice allowing for new forms of expression, and new surface textures to emerge.
Work from my current Hermaphrodite Series
My current body of work explores the concept of the hermaphrodite within mythology and nature. This body of work comes out of a desire to challenge the notion of a patriarchal religious figurehead within western culture. This work aims to challenge the traditional absence of the feminine within our cultural belief systems withoust removing the masculine completely. My intention is for these forms to be balanced between male and female forms.
The absent feminine is mostly represented within the negative space in the work. She is represented by the chasms and openings whilst the male elements of the work petrude into the space. Tubing has become a repeated trope within these works as tubes have intrinsic negative space allowing for a chasm and a potrusion. Repetition is a key component of my work, I use repeated forms in order to reflect the way elements in nature replicate and repeat.
Visually these works are largely based on naturally occurring hermaphrodites such as sea slugs and snails. My work often takes natural forms as a starting point and then reworking them in industrial materials to create a sense of contrast.