Emilie Syme-Lamont (b. 1990) is a painter and multimedia artist currently based out of Naarm / Melbourne, Australia.
Borrowing genre tropes from literary Gothic and cinematic traditions, her work explores ideas of temporal overlap, (mis)remembered happenings and psychologically charged spaces. Emilie draws upon collected materials; images and debris from the mundane and physical world, reshaping them so they become infused with an odd, dreamlike quality.
Belief systems, psychology and recurring cultural phenomena all provide a catalyst for the strange narratives that become her paintings and installations.
Emilie’s practice implies a perspective that is humanistic, yet unsettling and surreal; an exploration of what it feels like to be human in one's darkest or strangest hour.
Emilie Syme-Lamont graduated from The National Art School in Sydney and holds an MFA in Drawing and a BFA in Painting. She has held solo exhibitions at M Contemporary (Sydney), Edwina Corlette Gallery (Brisbane) PINCE projects (Budapest) and Incinerator Gallery (Melbourne). Her body of work includes painting, drawing, ceramics, and more recently, sound, silicone, and bookmaking.
Her work is held in private collections in Australia, the USA, and Europe, and in the National Art School Archives in Sydney.
- Solo Exhibition 'Moving Images' at Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane (2018)
- Extended residency in Budapest (2019-2020), working with international artists as a program assistant meanwhile developing solo exhibition 'Out, Damned Spot' with Caitlin Hespe at PINCE Projects (Budapest)
- Solo Exhibition 'Who's Afraid' with Safak Gurboga at Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne (2022)
What medium do you work with, and why have you chosen them?
Predominantly I am a painter, although my paintings feel more like drawings to me. They are exploratory, loose and unfinished; the way that a sketch feels. I tend to introduce other, often sculpted elements to my paintings in the form of unusual frames, cast objects like clawed feet or even artificial light. There is something in my practice that demands the meeting of a real, tangible form with the surreality of the painted image.
How does your artwork get from initial concept to exhibition stage?
I read and write a lot. Mostly I read short fiction. I feel a kindred intention with certain short story writers who are able to build up worlds and collapse them in the space of a few short pages. I collect fragments of sentences, film stills, photographs, and discarded objects. I make endless notes on ideas that have caught my attention, trying to find the connective tissue between a multitude of elements. I work on studies in watercolour, meanwhile, imagining forms, textures and colours that can contrast or clash; to add something unexpected to the narrative. This is a slow process and somewhat elusive. Then I get to work in the studio to bring the project to life. There needs to always be space for surprise, accident and intervention. Until the final moment a conversation takes place between myself and the artwork, when the conversation ends, the artwork is either finished, or abandoned.
Can you tell us a little more about your creative working environment/studio?
I have been in near constant movement over the last five years, studio space is often improvised and incomplete. My Google Drive and sketchbook are the closest thing to a stable work space which I can tap into anytime and in any place. While this has its obvious pitfalls, there is a sense of openness and energy that this mode has provided. When I do have a physical studio it is quickly filled with books, old photos, bric-a-brac, fabric and strange material that I collect from the world. It feels like a bird's nest of incoherent and beautiful matter.