Focus Artist of the Week: Emilie Stark-Menneg

Last Thursday we held our opening for artist, Emilie Stark-Menneg's exhibit, American Popsicle. This exhibit is a must-see and will be at the gallery until August 12th. We hope you are able to stop in to see this wonderful collection of Emilie's work. We were lucky enough to be able to ask her a few questions about her inspirations and her work and I am so happy to be able to share her answers with you today. Enjoy!

Your mom is a recognized video artist. Has she inspired you and your work?

My mom, Maggie Stark is a huge inspiration! Her videos and sculptures use light, atmosphere and objects to track, contain and expand time. Her installations often portray haunting netherworlds held in balance by delicate rituals. Check out her website: Watching her persist over the years, instilled in me the confidence to push on no matter what. I am constantly sending her pics of works in progress to get her critical feedback. Her support is unwavering and her critiques of my work are always fresh and insightful.

Your current show at the gallery features your most recent works which are layered imagery of your life in Maine --are these more memories or more fantasies, imaginings? Can you describe a few pieces and how they came to fruition?

I’d say most of the pieces are bizarre amalgamations of memory and fantasy. Coastal Maine is the perfect backdrop for joyous summer vacation imagery gone wrong. I love playing with materials and tipping the picture into an unsettling or unfamiliar place. The painting “Summer in Maine”, depicts a couple riding the waves. The woman’s seaweed hair flies in the wind and her eyeball almost pops off the canvas. To me the painting is salty, hot and unhinged.

My video “Aurora” inspired the painting “Booby Juice”. The painting features a portrait of my brilliant partner in love, John Bisbee, smoking and squeezing oranges. This painting was particularly exciting to work on because at one point it was sweet and harmonious, with a muted palate. After leaving it alone for a awhile, I decided to take it to the next-level, and make wild and unexpected choices. I could have easily destroyed it, but instead I think I upped the ante.

Can you tell us a bit about the mediums you use for your pieces and your process?

I spend a lot of time preparing the canvas. The amazing painter Devan Shimoyama, passed down a technique (from the legendary Angela Dufresne), which involves squeegeeing on the gesso and then wet sanding every couple of layers. It makes for a super slick surface, which is good for paint markers and refracting the light. I am constantly experimenting with different processes. Often times I will combine different paints, mediums and supports and accidentally discover a really awesome effect.

We know you are a relatively young artist and your exhibition opportunities are gaining momentum. Are your collectors US based or are they coming to you internationally?

My collectors are both US based and International.

Can you tell us about upcoming exhibitions?

I have an upcoming solo show at the Nesto Gallery, Milton Academy, my high school alma mater, Milton, MA. I am also in a few group shows this fall at Allouche Gallery, NYC, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, and Carlsberg City Gallery & Art Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Do you have any favorite pieces in the show?

“American Popsicle”,

“The Birth of Many”,

“Add Gulls”

We are so thankful to Emilie Stark-Menneg for her thoughtful and insightful answers. You can find out more about her and her available pieces on our website HERE.

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