Emily Hawkins holds a BFA from The University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Currently based in Spokane, Washington, she is a visual artist who explores family life through abstract and antisentimental lenses, questioning the expectations placed on mothers as family historians. Her work has appeared in several publications and gallery shows, including Marie Claire magazine and Saranac Art Projects, “Kitchen Things”.
I place abstract and antisentimental lenses on objects and places commonly conceived of as representational, interpreting my environment through color, shape, and negative space. In my work, I leverage the way painting, photography and other documentary modes without narrative or context facilitate both remembering and forgetting—how an overabundance of material can itself become a kind of negative space—to examine what holds innate meaning, value, and interest.
Often my work leans into an obsession with preservation. I seek to create a visual translation of compound memories, treating apparently mundane household objects, landscapes, and experiences as visually compelling mediums and subjects. For example, my work with photographs, children’s drawings, and clothes handed down questions the expectation that mothers will document and preserve every detail of family history. I distinguish between the impulse to keep records of what happens in daily life and the more authentic but perhaps impossible desire to preserve the emotional experience of it.