Emily Henretta

My work attempts to describe a contemporary landscape as seen through stranger’s eyes, mining the present for archeological evidence of what will have been.

This new body of printed assemblages engages the metamorphosis of matter in ecological time, persisting in states between materialization and disintegration. Applying the cycle of creation and decay to contemporary forms —the city street, the computer data center— I envision what traces we might leave for future excavation. The study of artifacts becomes a kind of voyeurism across time, a fascination with objects as capsules of the unknown.

I am interested in conversions which are both beautiful and illustrative of deeper histories, harvesting images that condense dimensional narratives. In my material vocabulary, the layers within stones are the sedimentary caches of past landscapes, while the intricacy of digital hardware —likewise assembled from minerals and metals— become storage spaces to the immaterial. The practice becomes a means of toggling between image and object, animating changes of state and dimension. Flowing from solid to liquid, volume to plane, I play on expectations of materials, making facsimiles in translation: the diamond pattern of sidewalk steel caught on translucent cloth, black plastic like a spill of oil. Certain colors and surfaces become the symbols of a tangible vocabulary.

Although my landscapes resist surreality and rely purposefully on physical laws, there is nonetheless an aura of mystery and illusion in the elusive hallways and mutely pointing fingers, a tension between familiar patterns made abstract when extracted from context. Upsetting the vernacular of the everyday, I recast found images from contemporary, urban scenes in elaborately cut and gathered prints. With an abstracting gaze, I weave architectures that deliberately verge on collapse. Delicately layered and folded, fastened loosely or allowed to hang open, these wall-hanging collages fall over and apart in fortuitous ways. Using precarity and unfixity as opportunities for improvisation, I create moveable compositions that enable shifting relationships within the works and within the contexts of their environments. Building through connections and layers, I invent landscapes that viewers can feel through their eyes, as abundant with passages and textures as real terrain.

I use formal transformations and dislocations to open the work to visual analogy, shifting patterns from flat-bed horizontals to the vertical plane of the wall, capturing metal in the moveable surface of cloth.  My work exists in dialogue with the relational principles of Minimalism, however, injects the pure forms of this movement with the practicality of the mundane. Found elements, the gathered detritus of the day-to-day, are tempered by conservative arrangements that aim to achieve the most with the least moves. These graphics become an aesthetic of functionality suggestive of latent possibility. I interpret material as a technology in and of itself, full of implications that may be activated and inscribed by my labor.



2011 M.F.A. Columbia University 2004 B.A. Columbia University

Awards and Fellowships

2017 Bronx Council on the Arts Award
2011 Toby Devan Lewis Award, Columbia University
2009-2011 Leroy Neiman Fellowship in Printmaking, Columbia University
2010-2011 Emily Fisher Landau Fellowship, Columbia University


Selections curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, New York
Published by the Artist, International Print Center New York, New York.

The Things We Carried, Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio, Texas
We’re Talking about Practice, San Antonio College Art Center, San Antonio, Texas

Come Together, Leroy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, New York
Surface Revolution, The South Hampton Art Center, South Hampton, New York
Simple Subtraction, 47 Thames, Brooklyn, New York

Drawing Show, Inside Out Museum, Bejing, China
The Last Brucennial, 837 Washington Street, New York, New York

Andrea Longacre-White and Emily Henretta, Room East, New York, New York
Personal Desire Propaganda, Queens Museum, Queens, New York

Chosen, Selected by Michael Joo, Artgate Chelsea, New York, New York
Ruins in Reverse, Room East, New York, New York

UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHERF******, Leroy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, New York
A place to which we can come, St. Cecelia’s Convent, Brooklyn, New York
Columbia University MFA Thesis Show, Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, New York
Neo-Nomads: What Travels with you? BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, New York

Abstract Intentions, The Westside Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York, New York B-Sides, 6-8 Months Project Space, New York, New York
First Year MFA Show, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, New York

Tabula Rasa, Gallery Aferro, Newark, New Jersey Glow Lounge, Glowlab Gallery , New York, New York

New Prints: Artist’s Commentary, International Print Center New York, New York

Lesser, Casey. Fifteen shows you need to see this February. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy- editorial-15-new-york-february

Turner, Douglas. Selections by Larry Ossei-Mensah at Elizabeth Dee Closes Tomorrow. http:// douglas-turner.com/selections-by-larry-ossei-mensah-at-elizabeth-dee-closes-tomorrow/

Gopnik, Blake. Printed Circuit. The Daily Beast, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/ 2013/10/04/emily-henretta-at-room-east-is-the-daily-pic-by-blake-gopnik.html

Schultz, Charlie. Rising Ruins. ArtSlant, http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/29592

Rapkins, Rochans. Last Chance to See: Neo-Nomads. The Local, http://fort- greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/last-chance-to-see-neo-nomads/

Shepard, Cassim. Emily Henretta: Making and Unmaking the Constructed Jumble, interview.

Urban Omnibus, http://urbanomnibus.net/2010/05/emily-henretta-making-and-unmaking-the- constructed-jumble/

Boynkin, Margaret and Cooper, Ashton. CC Alumna Papers Wallach Gallery, profile. The Columbia Spectator. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2010/04/08/cc-alumna-papers-wallach- gallery

Draw, Mapping Madness. Edited by Yuan Zuo