The Sarah Wiseman Gallery is hosting an exhibition of new work by Oxford-based artist Emmie van Biervliet. Her new work charts her recent overland journey across Europe by rail to begin an artist’s residency at Babayan Culture House, in the village of Ibrahimpasa, Cappadocia, Turkey.
There she found the remains of ancient cave dwellings carved into the rock, alongside Greek ruins.
‘The arches and altars of beautiful old churches carved into the rock still remain in some places with simple paintings of symbolic abstract patterns and scenes of everyday life such as chickens and plants,’ she explains. ‘I noticed in particular the reds and oranges of the paintings, which seemed to be the pigment that had lasted the exposure to light. The rock was very soft and due to storms and wind, impressive rock formations had been created.’
Both an artist and traveller, the majority of Emmie’s inspiration comes from periods of nomadic existence, mystical stories and bizarre sights encountered. Of particular interest are scenes of the eclectic crumbling beauty of Cuban buildings, the stark emptiness of the Mongolian steppe, the electric night landscapes of China, the sensory kaleidoscope of India and the timeless historic features of Istanbul. Magical realism is an integral part of her work, which may start out based on one place but ends as a coalescence of memories from the past, sights of the present and thoughts of the future. She hopes to create a whimsical world where the viewer has a sense of travel and exploration through her work.
Emmie studied painting at Nottingham Trent University, before returning to Oxford to begin her painting career. She has exhibited widely, with exhibitions in London, Chicago and Singapore, and was artist-in-residence, and then a senior practitioner at The Art Room charity.
10th Nov – 1st Dec