“Emily Hesse’s practice refuses to be defined and constrained by those traditional divisions with which we try to simplify and control modern artistic practice. Much of her work is about sculpture, certainly, but equally painting, photography, film and drawing are all resources she employs to communicate her insights into the world around us. Formally, Hesse draws upon a lineage of British Modernism that can be seen in the constructions and reliefs made by Ben Nicholson and his follows in St Ives. Margaret Mellis is a name that is often conjured up when talking about her work. This misses an important point though: the element in Hesse’s practice that move past formalism. Yes, her work can be deeply satisfying, indeed beautiful, in the abstract arrangements of found components. More important to Hesse though is the specific life of these objects, waste product that can be overlooked and completely unvalued by most of society. For Hesse these objects have an ability to communicate, a particular poetry. What they say to each individual might be different, and depend as much on the viewer’s own associations, but their readiness to arrest, engage and fascinate is undiminished.”
James Beighton, Senior Curator, mima
The world is so full at times I feel it overwhelms me. So much beauty in contrast to so much horror. Assimilating the world and it filling my head drives me to create and express it in my own way, to release some of the tension caused by thought and the hugeness of it all.
My work is a physical manifestation created by my inner, emotional, if not at times childish, self. Using myself as a starting point, I explore human experience, existence and immortality. I use found natural and domestic objects as my medium, as they encourage questioning from the viewer by communicating a message of their own as well as telling my story. Be it wood or plastic, inanimate or well loved, ugly or beauty full, each has had a past life and is full of meaning, often jarring memories and creating new ones.