"Aprons" by Ann Emerson, Groton MA
Ann Emerson has been considering “Aprons” since she first began teaching Art twenty-five years ago. Each apron testifies to hundreds of thoughts, emotions, and hours of effort in the studio. Each starts in the studio as a blank canvas, and each inadvertently becomes a work in progress in its own right, as the students focus on canvas after canvas.
By ANN EMERSON, Member of the Arts Faculty
September 21- November 14, 2009
Tues, Nov. 3, 6:00-8:00
Ann Emerson has been considering “Aprons” since she first began teaching Art twenty-five years ago. Each apron testifies to hundreds of thoughts, emotions, and hours of effort in the studio. Each starts in the studio as a blank canvas, and each inadvertently becomes a work in progress in its own right, as the students focus on canvas after canvas. She thinks that the aprons worn by students over and over, day after day, accumulating various stains and marks such as cadmium red splotches and black charcoal smudges, might one day be an exhibition by themselves. In this way, the works in Anne’s show were inspired by her students’ messy hands and sloppy habits.
Over time, her thoughts on aprons have swung toward their historical utility, their significance as protective apparel…the chain mail apron for medieval battle, the blacksmith’s leather apron protecting against sparks, the pioneer woman’s apron used as a carry all, the servant’s apron, early man’s aprons of fur and snakeskin, and the first apron mentioned in literature, Adam’s fig leaf!
Ultimately, she decided to build on the student aprons, the ones where she saw a new painting every day. Admiring the abstract and unusual color combinations on the high quality canvas when she first started to paint on last years sudent aprons, she intended to add only a few of her own intentional marks to her students’ inadvertent ones, and successfully did this with three. However, attempts to maintain the casual haphazard canvas failed, and intentional painting of the aprons took on a life of its own.
These “Aprons” have finally evolved as a history and a mystery. Each suggests a history in a narrative style telling a visual anecdote. With the “Pie Lady,” one can imagine the type of woman serving all those scrumptious desserts, someone who loves to create and serve food, even though she’s headless in the painting. In the “Pearl Necklace,” the handprint was done by a student. “The question becomes “Did she steal the necklace?” “Did she find the necklace? What is her story? It is the artist’s hope that the apron paintings will entice the viewer to make up their own story.
Farmer’s Row, RT 111
Groton, Ma 01450