Blushing effusions on exposed flesh beam with rubied modesty or perhaps a wholly welcome and well-placed slap. All of it slathered with so much confetti or dripping with ectoplasm, one wants to assume the latter.
A snowstorm of tulle over a smoky sunset. Each torn strip of gauzy colour as if Degas’ ballerinas went on strike, shredding their costumes into diaphanous hurricanes as they dashed and splashed into a midsummer river. Finally free from the tyranny of cruel masters and demanding spectators, their naked frolic is tucked just out of sight.
A genderqueer anchorite in the desert meets one of the gods they’re meditating upon at dawn and is granted a magical wrestling match between pure spirit and living flesh, a joyous tussle that intertwines slippery bodies with a hazy shimmer of soul (the kind of dream I imagine either of the desert Agneses, Pelton or Martin, might have early one morning).
Of course these scattered visions are really paintings by Emma McIntyre, mostly abstract with the occasional scrape of fingers or smack of her own body printed onto its layered hues. Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, she’s found herself riding out these last days in California, a Fulbright Award ricocheting her through a second masters at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.
'Abstract' isn’t really the right word for her work to be honest, hasn’t been for many of the other magicians with a spirited, unstuck relationship to pigment (lest we forget the Guggenheim opened its doors as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting). Paintings so readily read as abstract are too viscous, corporeal, physical, smeary, and wet.
In philosophy, the term ‘abstract’ is sometimes employed to mean a drawing away from the physical world, but McIntyre’s paintings are much too physical for that old disembodied spectre. There’s certainly soul and the shapely ether of thought undulating like jellyfish in all this colour, but her work’s clear erotics give them a real body.