SpiderEyes copy

Emily Counts

Sea of Nectars, 2024

Ceramics, plexiglass, wood, MDF, rope, latex and vinyl paint, lighting

6.5 x 10 x 10 ft

Presented by studio e gallery

Emily Counts creates ceramic and mixed media sculptures that engage with craft traditions and explore identity, memory, and our relationships to nature and animals. Electricity, colored light, and translucent materials are incorporated into ceramic pieces as she aims to aesthetically merge a sense of the past with the futuristic.  

The Sea of Nectars installation expands upon Counts’ series of large scale illuminated figures in commanding poses. These women with carefully rendered garments and abstracted features stand on a hexagonal island, facing outward towards the viewers. The surreal depictions of powerful female figures explore ideas about being seen and desiring or vying for attention, especially in the specific location of a busy art fair. They speak to both the vulnerability and rewards of exposure, and of inhabiting a body in public. They are composite portraits of self and influential people from Counts’ past and matrilineal heritage. This series evolved from thoughts about femininity, aging, transformation, and the supernatural. Although her inspiration is personal and rooted in a practice of combing through memories, the goal is to suggest open-ended narratives, creating a prompt or framework for the viewer’s own stories and meaning. 

Emily Counts’ work has been exhibited nationally in institutions including Oregon Contemporary in Portland, OR, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Torrance Art Museum in California, and in Washington at the Bellevue Arts Museum. She is represented in Oregon by Nationale and in Washington by studio e gallery.