Emmy Skensved, Framework, Acrylic on canvas,
191cm x 305cm, 2007
Image courtesy of the artist
Emmy Skensved is an artist who makes paintings without using a brush. Originally from Canada, Skensved is currently based in Berlin, Germany where she carries out her art practice while also occasionally contributing text to various magazines including Whitehot. Her paintings are crisp and clean, stark and foreign yet somehow also familiar. They interact with space in a way that may be unexpected. The system she uses to apply paint and the patterns that evolve, is a process lending itself to what could be interpreted as a variation (or negation) of Tromp l’oeil and is based on a myriad of sources ranging from a rococo-style latticework to the random yet familiar pattern derived from the cover of a composition notebook. Merging time with artistic movements and discernable pattern structure, the work has a contemporary edge that is refreshing as it is oddly referential to the past.
In looking for inspiration Skensved doesn’t discriminate. She delves into graphic imagery from advertising and graphic design but also pays attention to architectural details from antiquity to present. Digital imaging software often plays a role and functions as a tool to create and explore possibilities and sketches for each painting. She makes decals directly from acrylic paint.
Emmy Skensved, Framework, Installation view, 2009
Various dimensions, September Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Image courtesy of the artist
From the artists statement:

I apply acrylic paint on plastic support, and when dry, cut out shapes and adhere them to a primed surface. As these forms are produced using a brush, they retain the ridged, directional marks of the britstles. The crisp, knife-cut edges of the motifs however, truncate the flowing brush marks and reinforce notions of illustionistic space, as the bristle texture of the shapes appears to pass behind other forms. Using the collage process, glitches and fractures arise in the image. In some pieces, these fissures penetrate the border itself, creating a tangible sense of disintegration, and suggesting the possible links between ornament, decadence and decay. 

As the world and the people in it evolve, artists must find ways to retranslate what they see. Emmy Skensved is making paintings by way of collage, commencing with the application of media to a surface with a brush, but culminating in a different form of usage. The malleability of acrylic paint allows for additional possibility whereas the medium is utilized for it’s chemical make-up, only to be cut into, reshaped and reconfigured once again into a painting but this time by way of collage. Here, she is able to have an active dialogue with the abstract painting process yet, the resulting pigment filled surface hasn’t arrived in its current state via a traditional approach. As the artist states “glitches” can be pronounced and often are revealed during the moment of layering and adhering the miscellaneous shapes to the facade. However it is in the valid decision making process and the moment one chooses to allow a fracture to remain, that art is made. Often Skensved focuses on the idea of framing. She works within a particular area and along with the irregular interstices is able to construct a monochromatic focal point that beyond some texture and small negative spaces, remains uninhabited. The simple forms and shapes that equal what can be construed as a frame and concoct a deliberate moment that leads the eye to the center, searching for content and rather, we must deal with the absence of something, presence of nothing and the inexhaustible possibilities that remain.
Emmy Skensved, Fringe, Acrylic on canvas,
115cm x 100cm, 2012
Image courtesy of the artist
Emmy Skensved, born 1981, is based in Berlin. Her work falls under a movement of New Abstractionists also occupied by New York based painters Kadar Brock and Matt Jones. And The New Casualists defined by writer Sharon L. Jones in “Abstract Painting: The New Casualists“, published in the Brooklyn Rail, June 2011. Upcoming projects include a group show at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery in the fall and a solo exhibition in Toronto in winter 2012. More images and information can be found at: http://emmyskensved.com Be sure to keep her on your radar and stay tuned for future projects!

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