This week Emily Moorhead-Wallace is featured in Voyager Chicago’s South Side Thought Provokers series. The interview “Check out Emily Moorhead-Wallace’s Artwork” covers her background story, studio production, and advice for Chicago artists. Check out the full article below:
photo credit: Oopey Mason, @oopeyshoots
Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Moorhead-Wallace.
Emily, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio in a household full of projects; construction, event hosting, gardening. My parents were always busy working with their hands when they got home from work. This handyman foundation built a skill set that has transferred to creative output.
I went to Miami University of Ohio for a BFA in sculpture then Washington University in St. Louis to receive an MFA in interdisciplinary fine arts. After completing my education, I lived in Ohio between a few cities teaching for collegiate institutions and directing the non-profit gallery ROY G BIV in Columbus.
I moved to Chicago in 2012 and have been an art and artist advocate since then; installing artworks for others, managing collections, creating in my studio, and serving on the board of Chicago Sculpture International. I am currently the Board of Directors President for Chicago Sculpture International, a non-profit member-based organization devoted to the creation of sculpture and championing sculptors. Additionally, my husband, J. Taylor Wallace, and I combine construction experience and design expertise in rehabilitating our turn-of-the-century brick home on Chicago’s Southside.
My work is exhibited nationally, predominately showing in the central U.S. I have been an artist in residence at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, Fug Screens in Chicago, Illinois, and the Springer School & Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am exhibiting in a solo show January 2019 at VAE Raleigh, Lab Gallery.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
The foundations of my artistic practice are in-depth creative research and found object manipulation. Play, in the form of technically directed studio experimentation, allows design, function, and craftsmanship to merge humorously.
I make time based, performative, kinetic artworks. Material choices and final products are purposefully antithetical to consumptive practices. Studio decisions are conscious of what, why, and how I use and waste. For this reason, the lack of preciousness in materials, modular construction, and use of performance embody cyclical use. Use of construction waste, shipping materials, and found objects illustrate a boycott on designed obsolescence. This material sensitivity is a reaction against American capitalistic resource exploitation.
Thematically, my work addresses pursuit of perfection and the failure to reach it. In the Stationary Effort series performers ride used exercise equipment to drive audio players. Performers physically power flywheels in an inconsistent manner causing audible distortions; familiar songs, tones, and pitches are altered. This discordant absurdity veils the observable lack of human control over machine and uselessness of human as accurate timekeeper. There is a push and pull between recognizing the futility of the rider’s efforts and the funniness found in deformed sounds.
How can artists connect with other artists?
The best advice for connecting with other artists is attending art events in your neighborhood, visiting community maker spaces (if not getting a studio in one or renting studio time), and getting involved with local artist groups like Chicago Sculpture International. Chicago has a great artist community. People are open. They share resources and enjoy discussing fabrication strategies. Just talking to other artists opens the door for collaboration.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is always available digitally on emoorheadwallace.com and instagram.com/studiomoorwall.
Drawings are on display in our design showroom/event space in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, South Morgan LLC (@southmorganchi) and available for viewing by appointment.
I will be exhibiting with VAE Raliegh in North Carolina this upcoming January 2019. Check social media for additional exhibition updates.
You can support my work by attending events at the design showroom and viewing studio progress on Instagram.