11 FEBRUARY – 27 APRIL 2019
SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA IS AN EXHIBITION ACCOMPANIED BY A THREE-MONTH PROGRAMME OF EVENTS, LED BY ARTIST EMMA COUSIN FOR MILTON KEYNES ARTS CENTRE AS THE FOURTH INSTALMENT OF COMMON GROUND 2018–19.
With a focus on professional development for young people and artists living in and around Milton Keynes, Cousin’s February–April residency will offer a free programme of talks, family events and workshops at Milton Keynes Arts Centre, culminating in an exhibition of new work from Saturday 1 April – Saturday 27 April 2019.
Common Ground is a 12 month season of four distinct projects, each presenting high quality and meaningful opportunities for engagement between a diverse spectrum of artists and communities living in Milton Keynes. Working with artists RARA (Youngsook Choi and Kirsti Davies), Tracing the Pathway, (Ashleigh Bowmott, Cara Davies and Tom Eke), Milo Mcloughlin-Greening and Emma Cousin, our projects see artists work directly with our communities to create new works and establish a connected programme of workshops, professional and artistic development, events, talks and exhibitions.
Common Ground is supported by public funding from Arts Council England
Large paintings use the body to build a puzzle of figures supporting each other and holding each other up, the moment just before the overstretched figures topple over or pull one another apart. Phrases such as ‘holding myself together’ or ‘hanging out’ are often starting points to the work that takes dominant female stereotypes as a core narrative.
The work employs humour as a means of opening up and engaging with the complexities of women’s psychological and physical experience. Across the canvases the body becomes the lynchpin to explore subjects such as hysteria, suspension, weight, mobility, agility, embarrassment and acceptance. Work often focuses on the aging process through visual representations of stretching skin, or sagging bodies which is represented in the physical weight of the paint on the canvas, exploring the expectations that we have of ourselves and our bodies and how we handle and navigate our limits and our drives. The work gestures towards an alternative view of women’s experience of their bodies and the interrelatedness of physical mobility with social mobility. This suggests a curiousness about the acts of holding that are performed through our bodies, emotions, audience, memories, values, fears, ourselves.
Emma Cousin (b. 1986) looks at what we can and can’t control in everyday life. Using the body to explore human aspirations and expectations, she considers “the breaking point”, navigating the body’s limits by presenting structures of figures holding one another up or pulling each other apart. Her paintings question how supportive we are of one another as women, as bodies and as individuals. Her work has recently been shown at Jerwood Visual Arts Space in London, CGK Gallery in Copenhagen, and Dolph Projects, Tintype Gallery, and Edel Assanti Gallery in London. Graduating from Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford in 2007, and just completed the Skowhegan Residency 2018, Emma Cousin is based in London.
Imgage: Studio shot for Elephant Magazine, 2018. Credit: Paul Carey-Kent
EMMA’S PREVIOUS WORK WITH MILTON KEYNES ARTS CENTRE
PAST INTERVIEWS AND REVIEWS– Radio 4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000n3y
– Irrelevant magazine https://irrelevantedition.com/2018/08/14/emma-cousins-mardy-at-the-edel-assanti-gallery-dissident-disturbances/
– Elephant magazine https://elephant.art/studio-visit-emma-cousin/
– Fad magazine http://fadmagazine.com/2017/03/02/marcelle-joseph-interviews-artist-emma-cousin-legs/
– Candid https://candidmagazine.com/heartache-longing-painting-sculpture-white-conduit-projects/
– Artlyst http://www.artlyst.com/features/dale-lewis-and-emma-cousin-the-painterly-post-digital-vernacular-paul-carey-kent/
AVAILABLE NOWFeature in Ambit Magazine Issue 229