Full Circle

I carried a baby to term, birthed a baby in December 2022, nurse a baby, and continue to fervently make art as I have in my life through every joy, change, and tumult. I am processing new experiences as I witness human development and the layers of labor my body experiences. I work figuratively, but I make marks through my body first and foremost. My felt experiences are stored in my system and are full of potential action to shape what comes next. They are transcribed into the now by way of color, line, clumps of paint, and layers dug in. Video stills from my life aid in specificity. While working with oil wet into wet, I dissolve distinctions between darks and lights, figures, and the figures to their spaces. Lines find boundaries and large gestural strokes and scrapes break them open again.

I have always painted with the traditional grisaille underpainting, keeping it loose and using it to tone, draw, and erase out lights and accumulate darks. Now, instead of the ruddy browns, I use luminous colors. Holbein's quinacridone opera, a bright hot pink mixed with a touch of yellow, is my go-to. Spreading it out as a translucent base, and then having that flicker through the inevitable gray tones that result from lots of color decisions piled high totally delight me. The surface is illuminated from the start, so I have to not only layer in the light, but dig it out.

I seek to find the flow between forms as I communicate complex relationships in the language of paint. As a twin myself, I like the quote a twin said in the Psychology of Twinship, "To be just one person, it really is kind of scary." There is something deeply true to me about the multiplicity of form, not only in a relational sense like twin to twin, partner to partner, or mother to child, but within the individual. This is something I would like to expand upon in my next body of work. I do not know exactly what the work will be visually, but I know the relational shapeshifters we become as bodies that are birthed into a lineage, confined by culture, made multidimensional by love, and subsumed into matter are prompts for my next body of work. I want the relational spaces of my paintings to communicate the multiplicity of form by way of repetitive figures interacting in ambiguous, ethereal space.

My solo show Full Circle at Valley House Gallery just concluded on November 4th. Full Circle came from a conversation with a friend about the work and it felt right because it touches on so many ideas and subjects that the work contains. It speaks to the life of a painting itself which often goes through several iterations before becoming a variation of the original entry point. It speaks to the way the bodies of work loop back around and images reappear as I find new ways to express this core thing. It speaks to the moon and the cycles of fullness and entropy in nature, which is reflected in my Eclipse series. It speaks to the full table which is a subject I have been painting through 2020 when we had empty ones, and I now paint live as multi-generational families dine. It speaks to emotional (and physical) fullness of all kinds that accompanies being a mother, a body, and a creative conduit.

Emily LaCour was born in New Orleans in 1990. She received her BFA from Louisiana State University with a minor in Art History in 2011. Following her MFA from SMU in 2014, she returned to LSU to teach painting and drawing until 2017. Since then, LaCour has maintained a teaching and studio practice in Dallas. She is represented by Valley House Gallery in Dallas and has shown in museums and galleries around the USA, with her first international solo show opening next year.