Having lost her father at the age of three, Lin Emery enrolled at Columbia University when she was sixteen years old. She attended Syracuse University, the University of Mexico, the University of Chicago, and the Sorbonne before the end of her undergraduate tenure. While in Paris, Emery studied sculpture under Russian artist Ossip Zadkine and began to cultivate her passion in that department. On returning to the United States, she learned welding and casting at the New York Sculpture Center. She eventually settled in New Orleans, where she repurposed her living space as a fully-equipped studio.
Emery's early work was largely figurative-as she created many life-size religious figures on commission for Southern churches-but the artist gradually began to focus on the physical support systems and welded armatures that held those figures together. After her abstract work experienced success in New Orleans and New York, she began to experiment heavily with motion. Emery describes her work as a dance, the choreography of each piece influencing the kinetic response of the next.
In Octet, Lin Emery seamlessly melds the kinetic with the organic, resulting in a piece that captures both the essence of mechanics and the nature of growth. Octet moves according to the force and direction of the wind; its individual elements dance independently of one another while remaining connected in graceful symbiosis. Its title reflects the eight mobile circular elements found at the apex of the piece, while simultaneously connoting a connection with music (a group of eight musicians) or poetry (the first eight lines of a sonnet). Emery's work-much of which utilizes natural forms as both subject and context-consistently exhibits her technical mastery of kinetic sculpture in its complex fluidity of motion. Emery's body of work features diverse arrangements of tall, plant-like forms, their bases always serving as fulcrums for teetering branches and petals that respond directly to atmospheric conditions.
Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Chesterwood Sculpture Park, Stockbridge, MA
Georgia Museum of Art, Driving Forces: Sculpture by Lin Emery, 1 October 2016—2 April 2017
Chesterwood Sculpture Park, Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood: 40 Years, 30 June—8 October, 2018