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Emily Quest

Emily Quest¬†–¬†2161 Gale Ave

As an artist limited by time, space, and the economy, I find it important to ground myself in a refuge where I can feel free of life’s constraints. Some people do not seem to need daily exposure to Nature, but I do. My backyard garden, which also doubles as my studio, is a place where nature is allowed to proliferate, a private refuge in the metropolis of Long Beach. My garden is a place of solitude where I can be more self-focused and vulnerable to my immediate feelings and reactions. It is from within this state of vulnerability and solitude that I discover a sense of honesty and revelation in the world around me, a state of mind that inspires my work as a painter.

As a connection to the earth, my paintings follow the cycle of seasons. The paintings are influenced as much by a state of urgency as painterly vigor. I am particularly inspired by the ways in which seasons intertwine, moving from growth to decay in an almost seamless fashion. Following nature’s cycles, many of my paintings attempt to reflect both the verdant abundance of life, and the parched desiccation in death. For example, my apple tree paintings are bathed in a dominant yellow hue, warm light is scattered into patches of cool green leaves soaking up the nutrition of the sun. Thin, wispy warm and cool grey lines dance over this field of yellow, tangled threads and fragments of leaves, remnants of prior seasons. Between these frail and lured lines of tangled old growth, new fruit emerges in ripening glory. My apple tree paintings mirror the movement from the stillness of winter to the blossoming cycle of life.

My painting process gives vitality essential to interpreting the cycle of life. Passages are very actively developed by dragging, scraping, and pushing paint across the canvas at various speeds. The texture of the painted surface reminds the viewer that nature knows no true stillness.

Working in my backyard environment brought me to the existential realization that we are small in the universe, grappling with unknown forces. In painting the plants in my garden, I was forced to go beyond what is perceived as a tangible thing, in an effort to capture the intrinsic essence of Nature itself. In doing so, I grappled with ambitious creative purpose, examining life, light, color, and being. I associate citrus trees drenched in sunlight with healing and transcendent states of mind.