EMILY GILLBANKS (b.1999) is a painter and writer from Colchester, United Kingdom. This year, she was made a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundations International Painting Grant recognising her representational style of painting. She also has support from The South Square Trust. Most recently, Emily was awarded the Global Design Graduate Show People’s Choice Award for the Fine Art Painting category. In 2020, she graduated with a First-Class degree with honours from the University of Suffolk’s Fine Art programme, and has had her paintings exhibited across East Anglia, London, and Los Angeles, as well as alongside The Society of Women Artists. Her paintings have previously been shortlisted for The Sequested Prize for Self-Portraiture, and pre-selected for The BP Portrait Award Exhibition.
The subjects I paint are underpinned by technology. From self-portraits, to portraits of family and friends, I look to how subjects and objects are characterised within the same structure.
I paint people with honesty. My figures are characterised alongside elements of subtext and fantasy, which reference the immediacies of social media, and the constant flow of images found in the un-curated galleries of our pockets.
I use oil paint to dramatise and provide a greater sense of permeance to the momentary, or fortuitous nature of camera roll images, or more recently screenshots taken from video calls.
In my paintings, I use frustrated angles, misaligned gazes, obstructed vantage points, sharp edges, and saturated colours to make reference to seeing through the surface of a screen. I throw the action of looking further into question by using my handheld device to deliberately render unfamiliar, and yet recognisable vantage points in relation to technology.
I am interested in tracing a disrupted trajectory of Realism which re-presents a looped relationship between photography and painting. I play with the screen as a vernacular account of vision, interrogating whether presence is Being's most eminent mode when we are living in the face of a faceless world.