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Emma Marie


Nelson, New Zealand is where my husband, 4 sons and myself call home.

Completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree with Excellence in 2006.

My art practice is greatly influenced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, especially his insights concerning the 12 archetypes, the [1]shadow self and the [2]persona.   I draw inspiration from Lucian Freud, Frances Bacon, Jenny Saville, and Marlene Dumas these artists portray psychological uneasiness within their portrait and figure paintings, thus, giving humanity an opportunity to consciously face undesirable elements of their own personality.

‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.’  The Gnostic Christ (Dead Sea Scrolls).


A persons ego or mask works hard to hide the rejected and buried personality.  I am interested in this play of opposites; both sides belong to the same coin, inseparable, this paradox intrigues me.  The shadow and the persona are both true and valid at the same time, it is not a matter of either or as then we would deny half of ourselves.  Neither can be snuffed out simply because an aspect of self doesn’t fit within our learnt view of acceptable behaviour.


What happens when the balance is tipped?  An inflated ego steps up to ‘protect’ the depths of oneself, further hiding traits we dare not acknowledge.  Thus widening the separation of self with the potential to flip drastically between the poles.  A completely different person can seem to emerge following a massive pole split, the judger becomes judged, the mocker mocked.  

I am humoured in the duplicity and deception that goes on within ourselves, we laugh knowing the difference between what goes on inside of self, compared to what we project outside of self.  We are the ultimate binary that needs to be reconciled in order to achieve balance, this being through self realisation.   


In my practice I have sought to acknowledge our binary state of existence by creating two separate strands of works, each one focusing on either the shadow or the persona.  Subject matter remains the same but source material, medium, style and mood are noticeable different.



[1] Shadow  ‘… to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or the entirety of the unconscious …’  Shadow (Psychology), Wikipedia. Wikipedia.

[2] ‘A kind of mask designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual’  Persona (Psychology), Wikipedia. 



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