Emma Talbot (2021) Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography

Creative Practice, Research, Art and Exhibition Making

Dundee Contemporary Arts Exhibition 28th April-8th August 2021

Emma Talbot (2020) A Crash in Fast and Slow Motion, Visual Representation of the Cataclysmic Crash that has Reconfigured the World. Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) Ghost Calls; Newly Broken World of Fantastical Landscapes. Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

This major exhibition was seen on Sunday 27th June 2021 and it left a substantial impression upon me given the narrative and how it was visually represented alongside sound, which demonstrated how to exhibit expecially in mixed larger scale. The exhibition showcased a new series of works developed for DCA by British artist Emma Talbot, drawing together the diverse facets of her practice to create a new, painterly world in the gallery for audiences to step into. Talbot’s work explores visual autobiography through drawing, painting, animation and three-dimensional making. Emma Talbot highlighted internal narratives as visual poems or associative ruminations, based on her own experience, memories and psychological projections. She incorporated her own writing and references to other literary and poetic sources, Emma Talbot combined painted text, figurative depiction, mark-making and pattern to shift the focus beyond the norm, for her work to be viewed between the symbolic and the everyday.


The imagery used within her work has been direct and hand-drawn, resulting in immediate, open, inventive representations of what is seen in the mind’s eye. This exhibition has helped to develop my own ideas about my exhibition and what it can be especially given the autobiograhical narrative. I was struck with how all these narratives were threaded and drawn together with movement and sound. Emma Talbot used her new animation Keening Songs which used the artist’s poetic texts and other-worldly soundtrack of percussive rhythms, electronic melodies and wailing intonations to create a fully emmersive haunting and evocative experience to match her underlying context of contemporary concerns including the pandemic, environmental sustainability through egopolitics, grief which can be known as keeling or wailing as well as holistic experiencing and feministic theory.


The relationship between the physical presence of the work and the fleeting nature of the subject is considered through particular materials: drawings on thin, hand-made papers are folded and painted works are made directly onto silk, which is sewn in sections to make hangings and installations. Her most recent three-dimensional pieces have been constructed by hand with simple processes, such as papier-mâché, and stitched soft forms.

Emma Talbot (2020) Extract from Ghost Calls, Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

The sense of loss was papitable given the soundtrack which accompanied this exhibition. The artist noted that her work moves between different spaces of thought between inner monologue and the external world. This sense of intra and inter-relating bore a resemblance to my own narrative, of its importance to my own personal and professional identity and the elements that I wish to express through my larger scale body of work using print and stitch. I was interested to see the use of a range of techniques throughout the exhibition including the hand sewn sections to make drifting hangings and installations which helped to bring to life her story telling.

Emma Talbot (2020) Extract from Ghost Calls, Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

The artwork was undertaken throughout the initial stages of the global pandemic and as such it naturally affected this artist’s sense of wreckage, loss and change. The imagery has been beautifully drawn and painted onto the silk which is embedded within womens suffering through grief. These depicted woman are seen in many forms throughout this series of work as keeners wailing their loss.

Emma Talbot (2020) Extract from Ghost Calls, Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

Three-dimensional works throughout the exhibition fully brought these women into life, movement and physical form to fully capture women striving, gathering and exploring their full range of experiencing. Their poses were dynamic as if caught in full movement forward in an attempt to make sense of what is going on, to continue to carry on through the repetitive sound of crying.

Emma Talbot (2020) Mountain in Moonlight, Various Media. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) Mirrored Landscape, Various Media. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) Weeping Willow, Various Media. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) Meeting Place, Various Media. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) Extract from Ghost Calls, Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

While at the exhibition I photographed and researched all the techniques used to organise the exhibition and to present the artwork including how the hangings and installations were supported and hung so securely. The use of cabling and metal rods will be investigated further as my creative work is undertaken and increasingly completed as vintage linen will be heavier than silk so alternative approaches will be required using heavier duty cables.  

Emma Talbot (2020) Extract from Ghost Calls, Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) A Crash in Fast and Slow Motion, Visual Representation of the Cataclysmic Crash that has Reconfigured the World. Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition
Emma Talbot (2020) A Crash in Fast and Slow Motion, Visual Representation of the Cataclysmic Crash that has Reconfigured the World. Acrylic on Silk. Ghost Calls-Visual Autobiography, DCA 2021 Exhibition

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