London-based British-French artist Emma Neuberg is a painter, digital printmaker and installation artist. Her work is about ‘the denied voice’ and focuses on the denied voice of women. Her themes include the consequential effects of denied existence, access, opportunities and jobs and the ensuing vicious circles that are pandemic. The artist addresses ‘the gaps between’ where the resultant silence increases exclusion, projection, exploitation, ambivalence, assumption, assault, dismissal, invisibility, poverty and the physical and mental health consequences of these. Neuberg uses colour, form and gestural mark-making to describe these states and experiences. She paints, prints and dyes cotton, linen, vinyl and polyester canvases that loom, drape, billow, fold, stretch, shade and glow.
Neuberg’s most recent exhibition Emma Neuberg: Memory of Colour took place 9th January – 5th February 2019 at The Forge, East London, in the new Craft Central UK space by Emrys Architects. The show, curated by Somerset House curator, Helen Kemp, brought together a site-specific installation of Drape (21m x 4m x 2m) with corresponding pastel drawings dated 2014 – 18 and oil paintings from 2018 – 19 exhibited together for the first time. Neuberg’s ‘activating paintings’ are representative of the artist’s spontaneous gestures that amalgamate in suspended tapestries and address the relationship between abuse and imaginative escape.
Saff Williams, curator at Studio 7 Projects, host to Frieze Academy London, wrote of Neuberg’s solo show at Aldgate Tower, in 2018, East London:
“Drape is an immersive forest of twenty fabric folds patterned with brightly bold and textured foliage, bringing the outside world in. Totems to the natural world, this installation subtly breathes in the space as the geometric artworks softly flutter in the breeze and move the viewer’s eye from the artworks’ surface to their abstracted depths.”
The scale and dynamism in Neuberg’s work are attributed to her personal experience, insight, architectural vision, formative training in Sculpture and European Art History and her childhood in Greece, England and France. Blocks of colour are dragged and pushed across paper and canvas in powerful, disruptive slabs and smears that merge, vibrate, pour and blend. Recalled and imagined scenes blur and overlap in layers of pigment and oil to scale-up into large modular sequences, folding sculptures and immersive environments.
Her first group show was Artists as Rugmakers (1994-6), the Great British touring exhibition synthesizing British Modernism with textiles with Winifred Nicholson, EQ Nicholson, Tim Nicholson, Louisa Nicholson, Kaffe Fassett, Roderic Hill and Ben Nicholson. From 1995, Neuberg studied at the the Royal College of Art, London, and in 2000 gained a studio-based PhD in Sustainable Printing Methods for Synthetic Materials. There she worked alongside Andrew Logan, Ron Arad, Julien MacDonald, Alice Temperley, Anna Sui and Vivienne Westwood and has worked with colour and printing technologies ever since developing large structures for installation and collaborating with established and emergent names in art and design.
Neuberg enjoys several awards from TechTextil (Germany), Textile Institute (UK) and National Endowment for the Science Technology and Arts (UK) for her innovations with colour and materials. Her studio features as the backdrop for the HBO/BBC series Civilizations (a remake of Kenneth Clarke’s BBC TV original) for its colour section presented by Philip Ball, colour expert and author of Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Colour.
Since 2010, she has taught in the Digital Design Suite at the V&A Museum delivering bespoke courses that translate the museum’s exhibitions into contemporary cultural artefacts through digital tools, the V&A Archives and imagination. In 2012, she was selected for the Young Masters’ Art Prize UK and was named one of Britain’s “New Fabric Designers” by Becky Sunshine for The Observer Magazine and The Guardian in 2016. Neuberg is founding director of Textiles Hub London, an international collective of artists and designers based in central London and working with textiles and composites. In 2000, she was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Lifetime Fellowship for her contribution to Industrial Printing Technologies for the Arts UK and, in 2019, is an honored recipient of an Arts Council UK DYCP Award for Painting into Textiles, a new project affording the opportunity to develop techniques and experimentation for large-scale installations.
Neuberg’s ongoing constellatory dialogue with British and European modernism, processes of postwar fragmentation and integration and her signature painting with print continue to develop exponentially.
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Photo credit: C. Schek