WHO: Emily E. Erb
WHEN: Through Aug. 14
WHERE: Visual Arts Center of Richmond
Emily Erb works on a new painting, "The Neverending Story." (provided photo)
Philadelphia-based textile painter Emily Erb’s large-scale, collage-based artwork is created through a painstaking process that leaves no room for error. “That’s part of the reason why my work tends to be visually complicated,” she says. “… There is so much going on that you don’t notice the mistakes.”
Erb, a Richmond native, returns to her hometown with a solo show, “Loosely Loaded” at the Visual Arts Center.
She earned her B.A. at Tyler School of Art and an M.F.A. at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and was first introduced to painting on silk in a fibers class. She was immediately drawn to the technique because of its similarity to watercolor, but it wasn’t until she graduated and spent a few months in Madagascar working with local artisans that she adopted the medium. For the past decade, she has painted exclusively on silk.
Erb starts a work by creating a large collage of images she has cut out of books and magazines. She then photographs the collage and has the photo enlarged at a copy store to an even bigger dimension — one piece in the show is 10 by 17 feet.
Next, she traces the image onto silk using a resist medium that does not absorb dye, then paints it with liquid dye. “It’s incredibly unforgiving,” she says. “Any mistakes I make are there forever.”
"Diamonds are Forever," collaged silk painting,53 x 108 inches. (provided photo)
She then carefully rolls up the work and puts it inside a large metal steamer to set the dye. “If it is not wrapped onto the pole correctly, it can bleed onto itself,” she warns. “The more white there is in the piece, the more nervous I am.”
Erb is showing about 15 new works in the Visual Arts show. “I’m really excited to be showing in Richmond,” she says. “I am happy my friends and family will be able to see it without having to get on a plane.”
Don't Miss: Street art meets fine art during the “Cahute” group exhibit and gallery takeover at Glavé Kocen featuring local muralists André Shank, Hamilton Glass, Ed Trask, Matt Lively and Mickael Broth. “We want people to see another side of these artists that most people know as muralists,” says gallery owner BJ Kocen. Featuring numerous special events throughout the exhibition’s run. July 15 through Aug. 27. Q&A with all the artists, July 16 at 11:30 a.m. 1620 W. Main St. 358.1990 or glavekocengallery.com