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Posted 03.02.16

Review: Emma Neuberg in The Gallery

By Louise Riou-Djukic

Harlequin (2015) by Emma Neuberg

"With the contrasts between geometric and organic shapes, soft and bright colors, Neuberg brings up a vibrant show with a joyful and positive vibe to the gallery, which gives a promising kick-start to the gallery’s textile season."

Emma Neuberg solo show - showing 9 Jan to 20 Feb in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art // www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/emma-neuberg-exhibition

BA (Hons) Fine Art student Louise Riou-Djukic reviews:

The current exhibition in The Gallery is a solo-show by London-based artist Emma Neuberg. Curated by Hannah Jones, it runs from 9 January  until 20 February 2016 and opens The Gallery's new Textile Design Season.

Neuberg graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2000 with a PhD in printed textile, though the work presented through the show illustrates Neuberg's statement that her work "falls somewhere between textiles and fine art" (Neuberg, 2016).

Out of the show’s 7 pieces, the first one you notice when entering the space is Drapes (2015). Made out of 10 panels of printed polyester hung from the ceiling, this piece occupies the central part of the gallery and imposes itself by its scale, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves within the colorful space it creates.

Even if parts of the patterned panels are geometric, some of them are more organic, a bit messier, which gives the impression of being lost in the middle of the colorful leaves of a dense forest.

Drapes (2015) by Emma Neuberg

It's confusing, walking in the middle of this space, as you don't know what to expect and what you might find hidden in between these polyester walls. A student, a lost wild animal, more colorful patterns? Who knows! What you actually find is a sight of what's happening outside the forest; the other works exhibited in the gallery.

"A feeling that Neuberg is playing with perceptions of textile as an artform is apparent through the whole exhibition..." — Louise Riou-Djukic

Quieter and softer pieces are found there, like Triangle (2015) which with its organic feel, is reminiscent of a calm landscape of mountains that can be peeped at through embroidery hoops. By using this support Neuberg gives us a little reminder that her work is textile-based, a fact which could be easily forgotten.

Triangle (2015) by Emma Neuberg

A feeling that Neuberg is playing with perceptions of textile as an artform is apparent through the whole exhibition, as some of the pieces wouldn't directly be associated with textiles if there weren't small reminders, like stitched lines, embroidery hoops or patchworks.

Talking of patchwork, Harlequin (2015) really stood out as paired with Semaphore, it’s one of the two pieces that are most directly linked to textile as a material. This piece has a feminine feel to it and it gives the viewer a will, if not a craving, to touch it and actually feel the fabric.

"This piece has a feminine feel to it and it gives the viewer a will, if not a craving, to touch..." — Louise Riou-Djukic

It's made out of cotton, elastane and polyester; materials that we're used to feeling against our skin and this piece left me frustrated, to not be allowed to feel how soft it was when it looked so pleasing to touch.

A similar feeling happens with the Grid drawings (2013-2015) as well as with Diamond (2015), since the use of soft pastels and blending colors plays with the perception of the material, giving an impression of softness and harmony that makes you crave to feel the texture with your fingers.

Overall even if I left the gallery craving to touch all of those pieces, I think Neuberg's show is a successful opening to the textile season as it displays a non-stereotypical use of textile, one which is usually associated with fashion.

Neuberg's use of prints, paint, pastels and even animation challenges the usual idea of printed textiles without completely leaving the fabric element on the side, still tickling our sense of touch. As a Fine Art student, I enjoyed the way Neuberg plays with the viewer's senses and memories using the details in her artwork.

With the contrasts between geometric and organic shapes, soft and bright colors, Neuberg brings up a vibrant show with a joyful and positive vibe to the gallery, which gives a promising kick-start to the gallery’s textile season.

www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/emma-neuberg-exhibition

Reviewed by Louise Riou-Djukic, BA (Hons) Fine Art student. See her work at louiserioudjukic.wordpress.com

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