Emma Hurst graduated from Bath Spa University, Sion Hill in 1995 and started a graphics design business.
In 2010 in conjunction with her business she returned to her first love, painting. Then in 2019 she completed her MA in Fine Art (with Distinction) at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, after having obtained a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts from West Dean in 2018.
In her work Emma Hurst expands the idea of painting, exploding a collage into three-dimensional space as she responds to the environment outside.
She says “I am interested in creating new possibilities and presenting work in alternative and unexpected places and locations. Working directly in response to place, to architecture and surrounding landscapes, my installations are combinations of new works and selected paintings from from my increasing library.
My painting process is labour intensive, committed and performative. I allow the paint to puddle and pool, soak into the surface and through to the underside, staining each fibre as I move over the surface in a manner that combines control and spontaneity.”
The saturated paintings take shape from literally being folded onto, or into 3D shapes then left to dry.
Homemade tools are created to assist in the folding of sometimes immense cuts of canvas. The folded material is squeezed tightly between planks and driven over, first, to rid the excess water, but more importantly for the folds to leave a permanent line or trace within the structure of the material and later revealed.
Emma Hurst’s paintings are curated playfully into site specific installations; up and down ladders, hung to extend down and across from different heights, draped or tortioned, accentuating spaces not seen. Viewers are encouraged to physically engage and immerse themselves within the canvases as they walk through and around the dynamic 3D exploded collage.
Her aim is to create a multi-sensory encounter using colour, scale and dimensionality, finding ways of how her work relates in the world beyond the gallery and my devotion to making.
Her large corten steel sculpture Dodecahedron (2.15m x 2.15m) was exhibited at her MA degree show at West Dean and later in 2019 in a public space during the Arundel Festival.