For the second edition of Greenpoint Artist Profile we are proud to present Emily Noelle Lambert. I met with the artist over Easter weekend at her studio on Manhattan Ave where hoards of people were gathered in front of the meat market to prepare for holiday feasting. I was escorted into a building that looked part residential part industrial, up a couple flights where a number of artists divided and shared the space for art making. Upon entry I was struck immediately by the haphazardous and chaotic paintings lined along the wall. I was confronted by jagged tangled sharp lines, vibrant contrasting colors, elusive dreamy/nightmarish figures, and a strict ritual of organizing chaos. I was admittedly disturbed by the jarring pictures presented in front of me and it wasn’t till the end of our visit that I was able to sit comfortably with them, cohabitating in an emotively indeterminable space.
Space and memory are at the forefront of Emily’s process, incorporating non-linear narratives with irregular distribution of form. A recently finished painting titled Iron Work exemplifies this multi-layering of elements where vibrating colors characterize lines that function as vectors of division and dissemination, and a fragile support for a mound of figures situated on the right edge of the canvas engage in unsure acts of embrace and revulsion. Recognizable objects such as a potted plant, a water bottle and figurines randomly situate themselves in between non-existent foregrounds and backgrounds continuing a journey of strange perspectives and contributing to the building of a dysfunctional yet resolutely performative stage. You can stare all you want at this painting and guaranteed you’ll find a nook of color and form you haven’t noticed before. There is a hint of coordinating balance with disorder, a collaged pile of the familiar and nonsensical that might for a brief moment instill a notion of harmonious peace.
In A History of Lovers a pair of buxom and luscious figures are sprawled in the foreground, their bodies pointing to the back with heads supported by an idle arm, their statically undulating bodies crowded by compartments of memory and remembrance. We not only witness their physical intimacy but also peer into a memory bank rife with history, collaged onto the surface with the anxious fervor and overcrowding that is typical of Times Square. The paint application is crude and sloppy, accentuating the performative aspect of an artists’ experimenting with form and narrative. The happenstance and explosive energy of these paintings are concerned with finding a path, as narrow and disguised as it may be, into order and understanding. Each painting is a door that is never firmly closed, open to a variety of interpretations and perspectives. It’ll take more than a simple glance to fully experience these works, it’s a meditative process to sift through the compartments, the relationships between figures, space and memory, and will ask of you to not only absorb but to share your own personal histories with what is made open to you.
Emily grew up in Pittsburg and recently received her MFA from Hunter College. She lives in Sunnyside, Queens and has been working in Greenpoint for the last seven years. She and a few others have convinced me to check out the yoga studio on Franklin, Kusala, praising the small and loving community of creative types conjoined to rock out to warriors and utkatasanas (I’ll be making a trip soon and report). Emily loves the pockets of activity found in the neighborhood but wishes there were more green spaces in Greenpoint. She visits The Garden more than once a day and can be found at Cafecito Bogota and Champion Coffee typing away at the computer (shout out to Oscar). Brooklyn Label is a brunch favorite, and YMCA was her fitness hangout till all the good instructors left, and of course there are plenty to find at the dollar stores. Emily will be showing her new works in the fall at Priska Juschka. Exciting!
This concludes our Greenpoint Artist Profile, if any of you out there are artists working in the neighborhood, shout me out!