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This image is of a two-dimensional mixed media artwork, measuring 80 inches wide by 30 inches high. The work is composed of two illustration boards, which are placed right next to each other so that the image appears continuous. There is a horizon line which divides the picture in half. At the top, in the sky, are pieces of colorful collaged paper that are cut from printouts of photographs. Some of these paper pieces have strange faces drawn on them with Posca paint pen. The sky is a dark grayish-blue, with some white chalk pastel on top that resembles cloud textures. Scores of geometric shapes populate the bottom half of the picture, with a light brown ground/background behind them. The shapes are rendered in graphite, and their edges are outlined with black Micron pen. On the shapes are dozens of small stick figures that seem to interact with each other and with the architecture of the shapes. They are in groups of one to four, in different poses and doing different activities. On the left side of the picture, the collage-creatures seem to be holding two shapes in the air, which are not rendered and outlined as cleanly as the many shapes at the bottom, and on the right, the creatures seem to be placing a few fully-rendered shapes into the environment.


Emily Mann

Mixed media on Strathmore illustration board

The organic forms in the sky are composed of original photographs collected over many years, which were selected because they depict natural phenomena. Some of them have faces, and these beings appear to be creating the shapes and depositing them where they see fit. They could be read as any number of invisible forces that shape societies, like the workings of nature, or supposed deities / supernatural occurrences. The collage elements at the top contrast with the drawn geometric forms at the bottom, and the difference in materials may suggest that the two exist on separate metaphysical planes. The tiny figures on the shapes interact with each other and with the architecture in countless ways. Each individual interaction tells a unique story, and zooming out paints a picture of a complex society that is playing out in this imagined world. What is the relationship of these figures to the shapes on which they reside? Are they aware of the tumultuous sky? I am interested in interrogating the concept of the landscape, crafting environments that tell stories. The imagination of the viewer is just as important as my own – each person will ask different questions and come to different conclusions.