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Emma Talbot


  • Senior Tutor in Painting (Research) in the School of Arts and Humanities at the Royal College of Art.

  • Biography

  • Following a BA Fine Art at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (1991) and MA Painting RCA (1995), Emma Talbot was a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome (1996),

    An artist and academic based in London, she is represented by galleries in Düsseldorf, Amsterdam and Basel and works closely with Arcadia Missa London/NYC

    Recent solo exhibitions include Woman-Snake-Bird Galerie Onrust Amsterdam (2018), Stained With Marks Of Love Arcadia Missa NY (2017), Open Thoughts Neuer Aachener Kunstverein Aachen (2017), Time After Time Petra Rinck Galerie Düsseldorf (2016), Unravel These Knots Freud Museum London (2015). Recent group exhibitions include A Journey With ‘the Waste Land’  Turner Contemporary Margate (2018), Virginia Woolf  Tate St Ives touring to Pallant House Gallery and Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge (2018), MAC International Ulster Bank Prize Belfast (2017), CONDO Arcadia Missa (2017), Comic Tragics Art Gallery Of Western Australia Perth (2016).

    Her work has recently been featured and reviewed in Kunstforum, Frieze, Flash Art and by Rudi Fuchs in De Groene Amsterdammer. Her work is included in museum and major collections such as Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery,UK, KRC Collection NL, Museum of Arnhem, NL, Fries Museum, NL, David Roberts Collection, UK, AGWA Australia, Wilhelm Schürmann Collection, D.

    Emma has taught BA and MA Fine Art at many UK institutions including Goldsmiths, The Slade, Camberwell College of Art, Middlesex University London, Wimbledon College of Arts, Ulster University, De Montford University, University of Brighton. She held a permanent post in Painting at Northumbria University (1997–1998), was Head of Painting and Field Chair BA Fine Art at University of Gloucestershire (1998–2003) and 2D Pathway Leader and Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins UAL (2003–2017).

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  • Practice

  • Emma Talbot’s work and research explores visual autobiography. Through drawing, painting, installation and 3-dimensional making, she articulates internal narratives as visual poems, or associative ruminations, based on her own experience-memories and psychological projections.

    The imagery in the work is direct and hand-drawn, resulting in immediate, open, inventive representations of what is seen in the mind’s eye.

    Incorporating her own writing and references/quotes from other sources, Talbot combines painted text, depiction, mark making and pattern to shift the registers and readings of her work between the symbolic, the metaphoric and the everyday.  

    The relationship between the physical presence of the work and the fleeting nature of the subject is considered through particular materials - drawings on thin, hand-made papers are folded, the painted works are made  directly onto  silk, which is sewn in sections to make hangings or installations. Her three-dimensional pieces are constructed by hand with simple processes, such as papier-mâché, and sewn soft forms.  

    Despite the direct and simple nature of the processes, the work considers complex issues such as the personal as political, social politics, gender, the ‘natural world’, our intimacy with technology, and language.

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  • External collaborations

  • External Examiner for Northumbria University and Cardiff Metropolitan University, and previously for the Royal Collage of Art.

    Judge of the Jerwood Drawing Prize and Sunny Dupree Family Prize, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • One Person Exhibitions


    Emma Talbot, Galerie Nicolas Krupp, Basel
    Woman-Snake-Bird, Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam
    Open Thoughts Neuer, Aachener Kunstverein, Germany


    Stained With Marks Of Love, Arcadia Missa, NYC
    The World Blown Apart, Galerie Onrust Amsterdam


    Time After Time, Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf
    Entrances and Exits, Gallery 22, Bristol
    Unravel These Knots, Freud Museum, London


    Step Inside Love, domobaal, London
    Memories Turn To Dusk, Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf


    Means Of Escape, Mrs Ricks’ Cupboard, Primary, Nottingham


    Bad Objects, Little Deaths, Transition Gallery, London


    You would Cry Too If It Happened To You, Kusseneers Gallery, Antwerp
    A Sheffield Song Bloc, Sheffield


    Pictures From My Heart, Transition Gallery, London

    Group Exhibitions


    Journeys With ‘The Waste Land’ , Turner Contemporary, Margate
    Virginia Woolf, Tate St Ives (touring to Pallant House Gallery and Fitzwilliam Museum in 2018)
    Some Islands, Coleman Projects, London
    CONDO. Arcadia Missa, London


    MAC International Ulster Bank Prize, MAC Belfast (2016–2017)
    Telling Tales, Collyer Bristow, London
    Ghost On A Wire, Objectifs centre For Photography and Film, Singapore
    John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Comic Tragics, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
    Endgame, Turps Gallery, London
    In Neuen Raumen, Petra RInck Galerie, Düsseldorf


    DRKRM DAM, gallery, Germany
    Graphics Interchange Format: 25 years of Focal Point Gallery, Southend–on–Sea, UK
    To Go Too Far, Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany
    In Miniature, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham
    Birmingham Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham


    Mind The Gap, Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany
    Drawn Together: Artist as Selector, celebrating 20 years of The Jerwood Drawing, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, UK
    Notte Bianca Valletta, City Lights, Valletta, Malta
    Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot, Exeter Phoenix, Hayward Touring, UK


    (detail), H Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand
    Atomic, Transition Gallery, London
    Art Britannia, Madonna Building, Miami, USA
    Drawing Now, Kusseneers Gallery, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France
    Random House, Arcadia Missa, London
    All the Dead Dears, WW Gallery, London


    John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    I wish you well, Vegas Gallery, London
    The Perfect Nude, Wimbledon Space, London, Spacex, Exeter, UK


    Me and My Shadow, Kate MacGarry, London
    Told, Hales Gallery, London
    The Life of the Mind, The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK
    Outrageous Fortune, Focal Point Gallery, Southend/Hayward Touring, curated by Andrew Hunt, UK
    Pulp Fictions, Transition Gallery, London


    Party!, The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK
    Family Viewing & Broodwork Project, Trajector, Bloom Hotel, Brussels
    Dough & Dynamite McAslan + Partners, London, curated by Kobets/Vasey
    Untitled, Nieves Zine at No.12 Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

    Peer Reviewed Articles

    Talbot, E. (2018) ‘Overstepping the boundaries: notes on intimacy’Journal ofVisual Art Practice, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 195–212 

    Talbot.E, (2017) ‘Coming To Painting’ Journal of Contemporary Painting (Intellect) Volume 3, Numbers 1–2, pp 119–136 

    Talbot,E. (2015) ‘The Unscripted Image’ Journal of Contemporary Painting (Intellect) Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 91–106 

    Features in Publications

    Malbert, R. (2015)  Drawing People, The Human Figure in Contemporary Art, Thames and Hudson 

    Beers, K. (2015) 100 Painters of Tomorrow Thames and Hudson

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  • Awards and Grants

  • (2018) The Bryan Robertson Trust Award 

    (2018) Griffelkunst Graphic Edition Award (Hamburg, Germany): Artist residency and funded award to make 6 editions of prints to be exhibited throughout Germany in 2018/2019. The first exhibition will be Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf in November 2018.

    (2018) V18, Arts Council Malta and British Council: Funding for Transformer Project (Co-Curator), a multi-site curatorial project involving a network of artist run organisations from North Africa, Greece, Malta and Spain, for Valletta, City Of Culture 2018.

    (2016, 2015) UAL RAW: Funding for Intimacy Unguarded Symposia, with matched funding from Freud Museum London and Raven Row.

    (1996) Bob and Susan Summers Studio Award, Connecticut USA.

    (1995–1996) Rome Scholarship, British School at Rome.

Selected work


Research interests

Emma’s research is focused on intimacy and personal narrative. Her work and writing in academic journals identifies that in the post-digital era, where most external spaces and events are digitally documented, the layered web of conscious and unconscious thought cannot (yet) be digitally recorded. Noting that structures of image and temporality in memory and dreams do not correspond to dominant notions of realism, Talbot examines the appropriateness of intuitive and inventive visual languages as a means of representing the associative operations that unravel the interior world. Her considerations are positioned in reference to (among others) Cixous, Badiou, Irigary and Ricoeur,

Current and recent research

Emma runs the research project ‘Intimacy Unguarded’ (with Dr Jo Morra), which examines how the personal can be material for art and writing. The project has hosted a number of public Symposia, seminar series and events at UAL (2015, 2016), Tate (2017) and the Freud Museum (2016). Material from the project is collated in a guest-edited issue of the Journal of Visual Art Practice (2018).

Emma co-devised and curated a major art project, Transformer, for Valletta (Malta), City of Culture, which will culminate in a multi-site exhibition in Malta in 2018.

The project is two-fold; forming a sustainable network of artist run organisations (AROs) from North Africa, Athens and Malta and commissioning artists involved with the AROs to produce new artworks for the exhibition. The artworks were realized following the artist’s participation in research residencies focusing on particular sites of transformation and their communities in the developing city of Valletta,