Emma Beer is youngest artist to present solo exhibition at Drill Hall Gallery

Emma Beer, 'number poison,' (detail) 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 183 x 133cm
Tuesday 25 January 2022

“When making these paintings or more specifically when I think about making these paintings…I think about two things; raw material and pure sensibility.” Emma Beer

The Drill Hall Gallery is excited to be working with Emma Beer, an alumna of the ANU School of Art & Design and current staff member, as well as the youngest artist to present a solo exhibition in the Gallery’s history. Developed in response to the scale and architecture of the exhibition space, Emma new paintings embody the enigma of light.

Energised and resonant, shimmering with vitality, these works are alive to all of light’s permutations, responsive to its delicate shifts in tone and hue, shade and shadow. Characterised by this mutability, Beer’s layered fields create radiant interactions of space and depth: paint is stretched, pulled and manipulated, pigments are thinned, veiled and extended, before being reconfigured as strident skeins that block and structure.

“The most conspicuous things about my painting” writes Emma Beer, “is the assertive tension between surface and space, the energised and ethereal colour relations and the engaging duality and inversion of both substance and method”

While the motivation and outward presentation of Beers’ painting may be dedicated to the formal capacities of paint, an undeniable and tangible parallel exists in her work, of human presence and of our relation to space and time:

“I work relentlessly in opposition, to activate sensations (physical, mental and emotional) that explore every infinite possibility. From happiness, sheer joy and excitement, to pain, sorrow and despair.”

While these are well and truly process paintings, they remain open to all possibilities.

Emma has augmented her studio practice over the last decade through her participation in communities of painterly concern and her work could be seen as emblematic of the energy in the Canberra arts community.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with commissioned text by Anja Lockhead and an interview between the artist and her studio cohort, including Peter Alwast, Kirsten Farrell, Dioni Salas, Joel Arthur and curator Tony Oates.

The production body of work that comprises this exhibition was support by The ACT Government.

Plan your visit to the Gallery.


* Text courtesy The Drill Hall Gallery

Updated:  25 January 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications