Body Language by Emily Strong
Last year, Strong was awarded a grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. The Foundation provides grants to emerging artists who work in a representational style of painting, drawing, sculpture, or printmaking and show determination and talent to create a lifetime career in art making. Founded in 1955, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation is one of the most prestigious, substantial grants that an emerging artist can receive. Strong, thrilled when she received the grant award, stated, “I felt so strongly about this project and realized what an important time it was to create it in a largescale format and be able to share it with the world. It is also really important for me to be able to pay my models for their time and image. This grant helped me accomplish all of that.” The Baum School of Art is proud to host this impactful, solo exhibition in their galleries. <p>
As part of this exhibition, each painting features an accompanied interview from the model. These anonymous interviews both humanize the obscure figures in the paintings and give the subject a platform to share their relationships with their bodies. This allows the artwork to become a collaboration between the artist and subject, as opposed to the more traditional artist / muse relationship.
Strong began her figurative landscapes at Moravian College. Her early work focused on the way that both male and female subjects have been represented throughout art history and how that affects the viewer’s perception of the subject. As the Body Language series progressed, it has evolved to celebrate inclusivity and the diversity of the human form, unrestricted by age, gender, and race. Her work represents the topography of the figure in a less traditional manner, allowing realism to meet abstraction. These close-up compositions do not shy away from rolls or folds; rather they linger on them, gently guiding the viewer through the topography as well as the unique textures, colors, and features of the skin.
Body Language will be in the school’s David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries from September 16th through October 21st. The school is planning on an Opening Reception on Third Thursday, September 16th and a Closing Reception on Third Thursday, October 21st. The Baum School is partnering with Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley for Body Language’s Closing Reception. The reception will feature an artist talk from Emily Strong, as well as a presentation from Turning Point. Turning Point of Lehigh Valley is the only domestic violence agency serving survivors of domestic and intimate partner abuse in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties. The mission of Turning Point is to eliminate domestic and intimate partner abuse in the Lehigh Valley through empowerment, education, and engagement. Their services include 24/7 helpline, emergency shelter and safe house, empowerment counseling, legal advocacy, outreach education, and more. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call their 24/7 helpline at 1-610-437-3369. Body Language works to connect themes of intimacy, body positivity, and healthy relationships, which compliment Turning Point’s mission and work.