Emily Kalwaitis

I am interested in that which is half-hidden and mysterious. I’m drawn to subtle emotional states, barely perceivable, fleeting and unsubstantial. I’m drawn to things that fade.

My most recent work centers around female figures, both women and young girls. The figures are most frequently amidst some element of nature; clouds, plants, birds, deer, water, earth. Observance and awareness of nature lead me into myself, to parts which I tend to fiercely protect.

Dreams, fairytales and childhood memories greatly influence my images, which often evolve from an impression left by a dream or a suddenly recalled early experience. My interest in fairytales comes mostly from deeply connecting to them as a child, especially those in which the main character is a female who, faced with limitations, prevails because of her purity and endurance. I’m inspired by Kiki Smith, Joseph Cornell and Virginia Woolf.

The paint is applied as a wash of thinned layers of acrylic. Some of the pieces are on un-stretched, lightly primed or unprimed canvas (or other fabric), so they are able to hang freely from a thin piece of wood. The pieces that are “stretched” are on wooden quilting hoops. The intrinsic qualities of the fabrics (weave, frayed edges, drape) often are significant elements. I also work on watercolor paper, leaving much of it without paint, again to reveal the paper itself as part of the piece. Although the medium is largely paint, I often include drawing media, simple stitching, applique and collage. Various types of paper, fabric, dry plant material and other findings often become part of the works.