Every so often an artist comes onto the scene so passionate and adept that they command attention from both avid art enthusiasts and designers alike. In this era of female empowerment, one such artist has emerged. Emilie Mae is a brilliant young woman who is making a name for herself while also forging an undeniable connection with her collectors and ardent admirers.
Mae works exclusively with oil and palette knives. Her expansive pieces and the broad sweeping motions require her to pin the raw canvas directly to a wall instead of using an easel. To complete a larger painting, she uses her whole body, with extensive arm movements and exaggerated gestures.
“My work is a bit of a workout really,” says Mae. “I need a lot of space to get the movement and motions I require, especially my abstract works where the large motions carry off the canvas.” Her abstract work is her primary focus now, but her gorgeous cityscapes and forest scenes, representing physical places, have garnered her abundant praise. “My different types of work are a result of differing purposes behind them. I find so much peacefulness and beauty in nature. When I create the tree paintings it brings me an almost meditative type feeling, much akin to actually walking in a forest,” says the artist.
Mae’s cityscapes were started when she returned to the Detroit area after living in Kauai, which is where she first started using palette knives under the tutelage of Giorgio Naranjo, a local artist in Hawaii. “I was seeking to find beauty in a more urban environment and became drawn to the obvious—the city as a whole. The lights, reflections, colors. I enjoy amplifying these elements,” says Mae.
It is the abstract that now beckons the artist. Her work is an expression of experiences she has encountered and her internal reaction to those experiences. “Often, I express the things in my life that I do not have words for,” she says. “I have a deep spiritual connection to my work. It is truly what I love and where my passion is. It challenges me, pushes me, frustrates me and allows me a sense of freedom. It helps me to learn about myself, process the things I am going through and reveal my feelings about my experiences.”
Mae’s art draws the viewer in as they attempt to follow the voluminous and expansive path of the various strokes of the knife across the canvas surface. The depth of color provides a physical dimension to the emotional one that is portrayed. It is easy to get lost inside one of her paintings and the desire to linger longer is always present.
It is this emotional connection for both viewer and artist that inspires Mae to paint. “I am driven by my desire to create and express myself and my experiences. I am also driven by the constant challenge it brings me to keep pushing myself, learning and discovering. I allow the painting to possess me. I hope that viewers will feel something as they view my work. I aspire for them to feel curiosity, power and peace,” she says.
Mae’s work is something that must be experienced in person and assuredly more people will be doing just that in the coming year and beyond, as she is just getting started making her mark—not only on the canvas, but on the art world.
“There is so much in life that there are simply no words for, and I seek to transform these experiences through the language of art,” says Mae. “How else can the depth of love, pain, joy and heartbreak be described without diminishing it?”
Emilie Mae is exclusively exhibited in Texas at Beaudry Gallery on Dragon Street in the Design District. She is also in nine other galleries around the nation.