Emily Mae Smith’s work encompasses references to Art Nouveau, Disney and the Chicago Imagists in poster-format, singular narrative oil paintings. Myth-fuelled and driven by characters including a recurring sunglasses-toting broom, extended tongues and butts – often framed by a moustache, and a straight and squared-off set of teeth – Emily’s work sits firmly in its own universe.
Each character or component acts as a signifier for issues in public or her private life, while also functioning as immediate, funny and sparky compositions reminiscent of the physical comedy propagated by the likes of Monty Python. But humour isn’t used simply for effect, rather the visual set-ups often convey the truth inherent in jokes, or create visual motifs that could otherwise be difficult to communicate.
The Brooklyn-based artist has exhibited her work internationally, and been featured in magazines including Purple, Elephant and Artforum.
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