Emma Neuberg is a British-French multidisciplinary artist based in London and LA. Known for her abstract paintings, tapestries and light projections, her work radiates an effervescent aura in stretched, draped and projected canvases capturing the cultures in which she works. Her work and process are likened to American artists Joan Mitchell, Joan Snyder and Charles Schucker.
Since graduating in Textiles from the Royal College of Art in 2000, Neuberg’s works reside in the public collections of ChelseaSpace, London, (UK), Central Saint Martins’ College of Art & Design, London, (UK), Peloponnese Folklore Foundation, Nafplion, (Greece) and the private collections of Grayson Perry, London, (UK), Simon Wilson London, (UK), FKP Art Collection, Athens, (Greece), and Molly Barnes, Los Angeles, (USA).
The tension between abuse and escapism drives Neuberg’s practice. Her creative vision presents the thwarted voices in society and focuses on those caught in oppressive and abusive cultures. Neuberg’s work addresses the effects of culturally-obstructed access and the ensuing and cumulative effects of these. She reveals, exposes and explodes the mute, suppressed spaces where cultural obstruction compounds exclusion, exploitation, ambivalence, assumption, projection, assault, dismissal, denial, invisibility, poverty and murder. Her paintings and textiles convey the physical and mental health consequences of ‘hidden’ intersectionality as entry points for dialogue.
Saff Williams, curator at Studio 7 Projects, host to Frieze Academy London, wrote of Neuberg’s solo show, Drapes, at Aldgate Tower, East London, in 2018:
“Drapes 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.”
Neuberg’s most recent solo show, Emma Neuberg: Memory of Colour, took place at The Forge, Craft Central UK, in East London in 2019. Curated by Helen Kemp (Somerset House), the British charity presented an immense, site-specific installation of her most famous work to date, Drape, measuring 13 x 6 x 68 feet (4m x 2m x 21m) alongside large pastel and oil paintings from 2014 – 19. Shown together for the first time, the works communicate a searing, luminescent glow and statement of intent against oppression and denial in the steely blue shadows of a Victorian ship-builder’s yard.
Neuberg enjoys several technical awards from TechTextil (Germany), Textile Institute (UK) and National Endowment for the Science Technology and Arts (UK) for her innovations with color and materials. Her London studio features as the backdrop for the HBO/BBC series Civilizations (a remake of Kenneth Clarke’s BBC TV original) for its color section presented by Philip Ball, author of the seminal Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color.
From 1995, Neuberg studied at the the Royal College of Art, London, and was awarded a PhD in Printing Methods for Synthetic Materials in 2000. At the Royal College, she worked alongside Ron Arad, Julien MacDonald, Alice Temperley and Vivienne Westwood in the School of Materials and has worked with color and print technologies ever since. Since 2000, she has been a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art & Design, Royal College of Art, Russell Group, V&A Museum (Kensington) and the Royal Museums Greenwich.
Her first group show in the UK, Artists as Rugmakers, was alongside Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Tim Nicholson, Louisa Creed, Kaffe Fassett, Roderic Hill and EQ Nicholson. The British touring exhibition, in 1994 – 95, heralded the synthesis of British Modernism and textiles in the first and only show of its kind. Following this, in 1997, she was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Lifetime Fellowship (UK) for her contribution to Industrial Print Technologies for the Arts. In 2012, she was selected for the Young Masters’ Art Prize UK by Cynthia Corbett at the Cynthia Corbett Gallery in London. And in 2016, she was named one of Great Britain’s New Fabric Designers by acclaimed design journalist, Becky Sunshine, in The Observer Magazine and The Guardian.
The artist describes her paintings as activating works. They present a cognitive, gestural process that culminates in unpredictable color-rich canvases that emit a powdery glow with blended colors and vibratory effects. She uses an unique, performative painting technique that she developed at the Royal College of Art in the late 1990s, and favors patterned and textured, end-of-roll ground fabrics over traditional Dutch linen. She paints, prints and soaks cotton, paper and polyester to stretch, suspend, glow, reflect, radiate, animate and speak in blended and provocative volumes.
Building upon her combined creative, pedagogic and industrial vision, Neuberg is also Founding Director of Textiles Hub London, a collective of international resident artists and designers working with materials in exciting ways for sale, publication and exhibition.
In 2020, she was recipient of the prestigious Arts Council England Development Award for Painting into Textiles, a project affording her opportunities to develop new large installations and, in 2020 and 2021, she was awarded a Lincoln City Fellowship in Los Angeles, USA.
For all enquiries, please contact the artist’s studio.
Photo credit: Cristina Schek