27.10 - 27.11.2021

A solo exhibition of oil paintings by Emma Nourse

What A Blooming Mess is Emma Nourse's first solo exhibition at Salon Ninety.

The giving of a bouquet of flowers often marks an important life event. Birthdays, funerals, weddings, first dates, farewells, and anniversaries are often synonymous with blooms. Once a flower is cut, the blossom has only a very short lifespan, slowly & gracefully transitioning from wonder of nature to wilted form; making cut flowers the perfect reminder of the transience of life, and common memento mori symbol depicted in paintings over the ages. Traditionally, flowers have presented a way to express that which cannot quite be put into words. In What a Blooming Mess, Emma Nourse uses blooms and bouquets as her main subjects to express her own ambivalent and sometimes contradictory feelings towards the chaos that characterises her practice, as well as her personal life.

As a single mother to a young son, a Great Dane & a smaller crossbreed, various foster dogs, and a neighbour’s cat who make regular appearances in an apartment that doubles as Emma’s studio, the Artist often finds herself at the nexus of a world that is, simply put, in a state of functional chaos. Despite this, Nourse’s portrayal of her subject matter conveys an exuberance that invites the viewer to delight in all the uncertainty and disruption along with her. Her expressive and tactile use of thick oils on silk, canvas, raw linen, and paper reveals the full range of complex human feeling with pure joy. Her painted depictions of wild posies in a riot of colour, luxurious tableaus of ripe fruit, delicate ikebana compositions, and splendid bouquets of impossible blooms capture the fleeting moments of a flower’s lifespan, intertwined with a richness of emotion; all on one pictorial plane. Fragile blossoms slowly opening and decaying express the most fundamental feelings a human being can experience; love, connection, nostalgia, and sorrow.

The exhibition title, What a Blooming Mess, uses a cheeky play on words to not only express her own “mess” but to comment on the messiness of the world as a whole, particularly in the present moment. Living through such unchartered times, the temptation to despair can be overwhelming. However, Nourse invites us to celebrate this important life event with the gift of a bouquet of flowers.



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