In my sculptural and installation work I use glass, sensory experience, natural materials, and found objects. I am drawn to the disparate, yet conjoined, histories of science and mysticism and the ways this combination manifests in the mythologization of natural phenomena, metamorphosis in particular.
Water, the human body, and transformation are central themes within my practice. My recent work explores the relationship between these elements by representing the human body as a translucent glass membrane that allows bodily fluid to traverse the permeable barriers of the interior and exterior body. This is demonstrated in Transpiration (A Sculpture that Sweats), She-Wolf, and Water Baby. Transpiration (A Sculpture that Sweats) consists of a hollow cast glass female head with salt scented liquid that drips through holes drilled into the figure’s face, creating the appearance of sweat and referencing liquid entering and exiting the body. She-Wolf is a sculptural fountain based on the Capitoline Wolf, a Roman sculpture depicting a mother wolf nursing the mythical twin founders of Rome. As water circulates through the fountain, it drips through the breasts of the form. In this piece, the wolf becomes a stand-in for the female body and a representation of strength, fluidity, and the nurturing quality of water.
Fluidity, the symbolic female body and ephemerality are also explored in Neon Venus. Neon Venus consists of two conch shells with glass bubbles emerging from the shells’ cavities. Scented pink and blue water, referencing gender codes, bodily fluid, and cartoon imagery pump through them using medical and aquarium tubing. The pink water is scented with electrical smoke. The blue water is scented with white roses. The combination of the two creates a “neon rose” scent in the air.
In this series of work, the fragmented body, beautification, and corporeal self-expression intersect with fantasy and idealized representations of the female body, creating references to ancient and modern ritual purification as a means to simultaneously celebrate the body and transcend its materiality. For me, the transformation into and absorption of the ephemeral speaks to the yearning to connect to the universe and escape from the trappings of a body that at times is alien to myself.
Emily Endo (née Nachison) was born in San Diego, California in 1984. She received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006 and a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2010. She has been included in exhibitions across the country at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland, OR), Disjecta Contemporary Art Center (Portland, OR), New Mexico State University Art Gallery (Las Cruces, NM), and University of Nevada Sheppard Contemporary (Reno, NV). In 2018 she was awarded a Project Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (Portland, Oregon). Endo was an artist-in-residence at Wassaic Artist Residency (Wassaic, NY) and the Kutztown University Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery (Kutztown, PA) in 2016. She has lectured at the American Craft Council (Minneapolis, MN), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI), and School for American Crafts, Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY). Her work has been featured in American Craft Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, LVL3, Art Ltd. Magazine, Frontrunner Magazine, and Bad at Sports. From 2013-2018 Endo served as Lead Faculty and Fibers Department Chair at the Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR). She is currently the co-director of Dust to Dust gallery and the High Desert Observatory. Endo lives and works in Joshua Tree, CA.
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