Emma Jane Goodman O’Rourke
Emma Jane Goodman O’Rourke was born in London, England and attended the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College of Art obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree from there. It was during this period that her obvious visual talents were gaining the attention of the leading lights of the creative and entertainment industries in London. Emma was commissioned to do the artwork for numerous record labels, bands and nightclubs. This led her into the field of advertising and Goodman was recruited to be an art director for one of London’s leading advertising agencies as she had previously won the highly coveted Rimmel Creative Advertising Award.
For personal reasons Goodman relocated to Washington DC, where her distinctive style made an immediate impact on the local art scene. Goodman brought a very British sensibility to the US capital and quickly amassed a long list of private clients, all eager to acquire her fine artwork.
Emma’s background in illustration, design and advertising makes her practice graphic yet highly personal, roses, guns and organic elements are recurring themes in her work together with the idealized representation of the female form. The work highlights Emma’s fascination with concepts of femininity and sexuality. How a woman can be empowered and self determined in the modern world. What it means to be female artist, to subvert the male gaze through seductive symbols. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of text and typography. Words and phrases are inserted, invoking various emotional states; notions of longing and romance are lyrically depicted. This is an art born out of passion. The red roses are loosely painted, dripping with connotations of lost love and prickly encounters. The titles allude to the Romanticism inherent in the work, pieces like, ‘Vintage moment through a veil of clouds she came into the light’ point to a poetic quality what pervades her practice.
For Emma surface and materialism is all. We have impasto texture with richly applied paint. We have an emphasis on the organic, on natural shapes and forms. Shells, butterflies are important motifs, perhaps exploring aspects of fragility and impermanence. There is a text that offers a viewer a way in, although the words does not allow for literal interpretation, it is very much left to us to decipher and decode the meaning. Her style grounded the graphic and aspects of illustration is complimented the confident application of paint, there are parts of her work left to chance, as the paint drips down the picture plain. This loose serendipity is in contrast to the detail and fine line drawing and mark making.
Beyond the private commissions and clients, Emma has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and taken part in various art fairs, notably – Queen Bee Gallery, Alexandria (2018), Northside Social, Arlington - solo show (2016), Good Buddy Gallery, Shaw DC -solo show (2015), RAW art fair, Miami (2014), SOVA – H street Corridor –solo show (2012) and a two person exhibition at The Catto Gallery, London (2010). The group shows featuring her work includes the following – Hole in the Sky, Artomatic, Red Dot Gallery Georgetown and Modern Artists Gallery in the UK.
In 2017 Emma won Anti Street Harassment arts award from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities creating a public art piece (a version of the DC flag), which was displayed in Columbia Heights and Irving.
Emma has also collaborated with other artists exploring areas of performance art and installation.
Emma Jane Goodman O’Rourke is a complete artist, fusing together various stylistic and technical elements to create artwork, which is subtle yet imbued with an understated power and resonance.
Art critic and curator.