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Emma Hartley: Escape

The subject of fear in the work of Emma Hartley is a nuanced engagement. Truth and honesty are apparent as we take a glimpse at her sensations of fear, which then navigate towards feelings of freedom. Escaping fear is about exploring feelings and locating a truth; the relationship between these two things is what interests her.

This permeates all of Hartley’s paintings and drawings. She often uses symbols, trees, and chiaroscuro in the work which represent a safe place to her, allowing the viewer to start looking for what is essential.

There is often a human presence in her work and a sensuality which in turn offer up many questions relating to arrivals or departures. Some have a dreamlike quality and, if her figures seem to be in a kind of transition, why then do we seek permanence?  Escape becomes freedom.

A recent concern in the practice is the subject of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East relating to the questions of fragility and courageousness. Simple and quietly felt, her paintings are sensitive and alive.

Her work is full of feeling and subjective distance, expressed through clear, emphatic and atmospheric composition that she shares and is expressed with the viewer.

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