Utilizing natural materials that carry a rich history of craftsmanship—ceramics, bronze, wood, fiber and glass—my work explores contemporary themes of connectivity and fluidity in biology, technology, and sexuality. Holes, perforations, and protrusions dominate the surfaces of my primarily abstract sculptures. These moments suggest bodily functions and forms, yet they also maintain a uniform quality to the patterns and textures, referencing man-made objects. The convergence of abstraction and figurative elements exemplifies my process, as I often begin with personal narratives to create pieces that are ultimately open to many interpretations.
My recent work experiments with stacked, connected, and arranged objects. These elements are strung together on rope like oversized beads, connected with chain, stacked on top of one another, or placed within a frame in a mosaic format. I am drawn to the flexibility of these processes, and the multitude of relationships or formations that can be created within a single piece. When viewed individually, each object is a marker of time, a physical record of an aesthetic impulse, but when connected or arranged together they form a narrative. I am thinking about the legacy of heirlooms and the idea that objects can carry a secret, unknowable history passed down from generation to generation. My use of stable materials and their connection to the past further engages with this notion of longevity and memory in objects.
Emily Counts was born in Seattle, where she currently lives and works. She studied at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and the California College of the Arts, where she received her BFA. Her work has been exhibited in Portland, Oregon, at Nationale, Carl & Sloan Contemporary, Disjecta, and Nisus Gallery; in Tokyo at eitoeiko and Gallery Lara; and in California at the Torrance Art Museum, Garboushian Gallery, Mark Moore Gallery, and Durden & Ray. Counts was an artist-in-residence creating work for associated solo exhibitions at RAID Projects in Los Angeles and Plane Space in New York. Counts has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and The Ford Family Foundation. She is represented by Nationale and Garboushian Gallery. Artwork in this exhibition is courtesy of Nationale in Portland, Oregon.