The floating consciousness of a creative mind is a wonderful thing. Emily Barresi, an artist hailing from Oakland, California typifies just that, as her work constantly evolves with her ongoing relationships with home, family, and mortality. You get a sense that this collection of work is Barresi’s consciousness written as abstract visual prose. It’s not necessarily linear. We might not be even looking at the words. “Someone once told me my images felt more like punctuation marks than they did words in a sentence. The comment made me uneasy; I dreaded the thought of my work becoming one long ellipsis.” Barresi recalls. “But my work is so much about searching–for a sense of belonging, for meaning in chaos, for some validity of my existence–that over time I realized how fitting that description really was. I have always been searching for the right words, but all I can seem to express is a sort of visceral punctuation.” This visceral trait is laid bare in so many images, vividly stopping you in your tracks. They pull you out of your reality to take time to really analyze the minutiae.
Although the idea of punctuation does instill a firm feeling of finality in Barresi’s work, nothing is final. Everything is open-ended. The paradoxical nature of this creates room for contemplation, Barresi explains her images “bleed into each other, overlap, and repeat themselves. I like existing in that unknowable space. It’s often where my head is at: between clouds and clarity, memory and the present.” The pure freedom of the work is what stands out so strongly. Her authenticity and connection to her themes reverberate, and in turn, resonate with us deeply.
WORDS ROSS J. PLATT
ALL IMAGES © EMILY BARRESI