MAstars 2012: Emma Rawson, MA Contemporary Crafts (Glass)

MAstars 2012: Emma Rawson, MA Contemporary Crafts (Glass) Emma Rawson, My Space, 2012. Printed, fused, cold worked float glass and bonded glass box. Various dimensions. Credit: Emma Rawson

Outi Remes selects Emma Rawson from University for the Creative Arts, Farnham for MAstars

At first glance, Emma Rawson's glass works seduce the viewer. Their delicate beauty invites the viewer to have a closer look, but then hints a darker conceptual undertone: Emma's work explores material culture and memory through the universally common event of death. Emma is interested in a home with material objects and domestic functions that becomes a place of memories that can be interpreted and transformed. She considers what visual traces are left in and on a space by the removal of material belongings following one’s death and how these everyday domestic objects of the material culture become to mediate the viewer's relationship to death and memory making. For Emma, objects, images, practices and places are reminders of mortality, referring to writers such as Elizabeth Hallam, Jenny Hockey and Daniel Miller1.

In her MA work at the University for Creative Arts, Farnham, Emma focuses on her autobiographical experiences and photographic records of clearing a family home – a common but an extraordinary experience. After a career in art education in secondary schools and sixth form colleges, she took time off to care for her terminally ill parents. In the exhibition, Emma's printed pieces of fused glass return to her significant moments and images of the family space. She layers memories and marks transitions, time and movement of the newly altered relationships and the permanent consignment of places.

Emma Rawson No Going Back I and II

Emma Rawson, No Going Back I and II, 2012. Printed, fused and cold worked float glass. Various dimensions. Credit: Emma Rawson

Emma's work enables the viewer to structure one's process of remembering and to dematerialise one's memories of domestic objects and possessions. The openness of the glass boxes with open sides suggests the expansion and contraction of lived space, the occupation and re-occupation of the defined space known as home. Often, some of the layers of glass can only be viewed from the polished top and seen at a single angle. This allows changing viewpoints to the artwork – thus, the layering of memories and experiences.

Completing a piece takes several days, sometimes weeks. Emma works on float glass with screen printing, ceramic and glass enamels. The glass is first fired to 760 degrees centigrade. She cuts and constructs solid blocks that are re-wired, now held at approximately 840 degrees. Finally, she selects surfaces to be polished, revealing the interior of the work in multiple stages.

1. Daniel Miller, The Comfort of Things (2009), Home Possessions, Material Culture (1997), Behind Closed Doors (2001) and Stuff (2010). Elizabeth Hallam and Jenny Hockey Death Memory and Material Culture (2001).

Selected by Outi Remes
Published November, 2012

View Emma Rawson's profile >

About Outi Remes

Outi Remes is the Director of the New Ashgate Gallery, the educational crafts and arts charity in Surrey. Previously, Outi worked as the Head of Exhibitions at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Berkshire (2007-11) and was awarded a PhD from the University of Reading. She is an author of numerous publications and curated many projects, including 'Rules and Regs' Live Art Residences (2007-11) and the touring 'At Play' exhibition series (with Cally Trench, 2009-12), re-creating a sense of what it is like to be a child at play. She has also lectured at Birkbeck College, the University of London, Richmond, the American International University in London and the University of Reading. She is a committee member of the Museums and Exhibitions Group, the Association of Art Historians, creating a cross-dialogue between academics and arts professionals.

View Outi Remes' profile >

Further information

Next MAstar