Based in Ramsgate, Kent
“Fragile #8” (2009), Hand stitching on hessian & muslin
Emily Tull graduated from Kent Institute of Art & Design in 2000. Since then, she has exhibited in London, Birmingham and regularly across East Kent in group and solo shows.
I am obsessed with faces. They show a person’s life, and can look different on a daily basis, a perfect canvas to convey different sides of your character. But more than this my fascination is with the colouration and fragility of skin and within my portraits I strive to bring these issues across. My concern is more with the flesh then the actual likeness.
My work covers a range of subjects based upon everyday life and mythology. Once the theme/subject has been decided (inspiration comes from many areas including fashion, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, Pre-Raphaelites, song lyrics and films) I will do a photo session with the model, or use photographs. I prefer to work from these (though I do occasionally sketch) because of ease (availability, time). Many of the portraits tend to be large in scale and severely cropped, exposing the face to close scrutiny, emphasising the fragility of the face and person. Drawing and mark making play a significant role, repetition of marks, layering on different colours. This can be a violent process, pressing paint through fabric, manic stitching – these ‘routines’ and combinations of materials trace my thoughts and fixations of the paint/skin and lead to an ongoing exploration of abstraction.
In the latest sewn pieces, inspiration comes from the fragmented Egyptian tomb painting, movement in sleep and religious relics. Sewing takes the place of drawing, abstracting the face, breaking down the features to a more vulnerable state, with the thread melting into the delicate ‘skin’.