Painting is a way of healing for Emily. Of mapping emotions. A safe harbour for her feelings and comprehension of what happens to the body in response to trauma. Her works have a hushed, quiet sensibility. She captures on and in fabrics the residue, the vestiges and distillation of her emotions then and now.
Her paintings are devoid of figuration or the human figure. They are nostalgic, contemplative, internalized enigmatic abstractions. Yet there is an implied and palpable human presence and a subtle and intimate fluid energy within Emily Ebbs’s deeply felt works that are an innermost portrait of the artist from a combination of her lived experiences, and observations and imaginings from childhood to adulthood.
Her process is reflective, meditative, immersive. She works at floor level on unstretched fabric. She chooses soft materials; finely woven cotton, linen, silk, scrim or muslin – a loosely woven almost transparent textile. Muslin is softly tactile. It is often associated with baby’s cribs and comfort. Muslin is also used in cheesemaking to strain out the whey, and in cooking to filter out that which is not wanted.
Emily gets down at floor level with her materials. Her whole body is involved. Working with her hands in the paint. Rubbing and smearing, Brushes are used, but infrequently. Acrylic paints are thinned, watered down. She favours soft soothing, calming pastel colours. Sometimes she dunks the canvas or pours puddles of paint onto the floor and lays the textile over it letting the colour beneath seep and bleed into the fibres to stain the fabric with a residue of the spill or outpouring. She is responsive to the accidental and the intuitive, both emotional and physical of what has gone before. Leaving bare negative spaces, leaving surface and mind open for what might come. Sometimes scribbling an addendum in pastel or coloured pencil.