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New Art MK: Emma Wilde

New Art MK
Emma Wilde

A love of the natural environment and the influence of film permeates much of Emma Wilde’s work. Often working from film stills and her photography; the cinematic tradition influences how these images are selected and constructed.  Scenes of often unsettled, separate places record the movement of a world unwatched, rendering it distant, other and timeless. By utilising certain angles or scenarios a cinematic veneer is set up in the work, where it might feel as though you are looking-in through a lens upon a story. 

Throughout Emma’s work there is a sense of imminence at play. Nuanced traces of human activity punctuate the stillness of her staged environments, suggesting ‘behind the scenes’ occurrences.

Meticulously observed the drawings are rendered in pencil or paint, often on cheap everyday materials like notebooks, newsprint or layout paper. This choice of execution firstly adds a sense of fragility to the tensions depicted and then helps to bring the dramas into domestic focus. Just as in the greatest cinematic tradition; the unreal becomes real and the ordinary extraordinary.


The work in this exhibition is a progression from a body of work that focused on suburban Bedford; drawings detailing wildlife co-existing on the edges of the civilized, built environment. By setting up a sense of tension and balance some of these drawings characterise a struggle between the built and the natural - one pushing against the other, resulting in snapshots of almost alien like invasions.

Other works blur the boundaries between these supposedly opposing forces, fusing their willed expansion into an interwoven organic pattern.


Following directly on from this Emma has focused on the uncluttered landscape of her hometown of Milton Keynes. Its clean lines and modernist style architecture, childhood memories of travelling to the cinema in the back of the family car, long straight roads, endless grids and roundabouts are all conjured up in these new works, which depict a New City that has matured. The cities original minimalist mould has been embellished by the cracked paving, stained concrete and over spilling flora and fauna, which characterize an environment that ebbs and flows like any other .


This swelling of life is perfectly captured in Emma’s roundabout illustrations. These roundabouts sprout from the road, festooned with wildlife, appearing as if uninhabited islands, existing in a liminal space on the edge of an expanse of traffic and tarmac. Circumscribed in this way the roundabouts are microcosms for the challenges many ecosystems face in urban environments. But they are also playgrounds of the imagination where something more primitive is remembered, felt and sought.


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New Art MK 

Eight Artists From Milton Keynes 

8 July – 18 September


An exciting group exhibition by eight emerging artists from Milton Keynes.


Which artists have been most influential to your practice?

Elizabeth Magill
Caspar David Friedrich
George Shaw
Odilon Redon
Peter Doig


What has been your most memorable exhibition at MK Gallery?

Gilberto Zorio


What's your favourite YouTube clip?

Me and You and Everyone We Know - fish scene