Emma Berkery | Contemporary Visual Artist
A visual artist uses a tool and a surface to produce an object or experience much like a writer pieces together some words for the reader to consider. I want to use the space here to create an impression of Emma Berkery with whom I conversed once over coffee and more recently in Northern Visions for our CultureHUB televison show. I first heard of Emma from Martin Ferguson who runs the Nicholas Art Gallery on the Lisburn Road. I was intrigued as he told me that she is a passionate and committed artist who engages people with colour.
Emma, originally from Limerick but living and working in Belfast since 2004, said I’d recognise her by her fiery hair; I countered that the glare off my baldy head might blind her. Our rendezvous a success, I learned that a good way to approach a piece of art that does not seem to make sense is simply to look and “say what you see”. We discussed in detail how she approaches a blank canvas. Like a sculpture, she said that, “Many times the art emerges through the process”. Interestingly, she remarked that when she looks at some of her previous works she often sees new things or identifies emotions or thoughts that were hers but that she hadn’t noticed before. She added: “I love hearing what other people, especially children, see in my work”. Emma gets young people’s view regularly as she works part-time as Education Officer with Young at Art encouraging kids to experience and enjoy the arts.
In accordance with Emma’s advice, I invite you to gaze at the visuals that surround these words and ‘say what you see’; better yet, attend one of Emma’s exhibitions or call into Nicholas Gallery (guidance to both available at www.emmaberkeryart.com or www.nicholasgallery.co.uk). Equally, you may want to visit and support Young at Art (www.youngatart.co.uk).
Emma Berkery was awarded a General Arts award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2013 to develop new work. Her current work stems from a year long artist residency with Craigavon Borough Council Arts Development @ Artspace, Oxford Island Nature Reserve.
Her creative practice utilises elements of collage, photography and paint, to reflect her intense relationship with the natural environment as a source of inspiration. She has a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Ulster and has held a number of solo shows both in Northern Ireland and the Republic, such as ‘Overflow From The Tower’ with Limerick County Council in 2010 and ‘Accepting the Journey’ 2012 with The Island Arts Centre, Lisburn. Emma has been invited to take part in a number of group shows during 2015, most notably with the Hunt Museum, Limerick where her work will be shown as part of the ‘Curators Choice’ programme in May. Later in the summer, Emma will exhibit several pieces with the Greenacres Gallery in Wexford.