So Familiar

Emily Counts
November - December 23rd, 2023

December 16th Artist Talk ︎︎︎

A coven of life-sized, ceramic figures stand in ceremony in Emily Counts’ exhibition “So Familiar,” the artist’s third show with studio e gallery. Each figure is a composite portrait of women in the artist’s past and is paired with an animal familiar; a spiritual companion believed in folklore to protect and assist. In the front gallery space, owls, cats, spiders and moths each align with their kindred spirit. These pairs are steeped with symbols of their strength and energy, describing deeply personal beings while still allowing the viewer to interpret their own meanings and narratives through rearranged facial features, glowing interiors and raucous, velvet hues.

In the back of the gallery, the Great Grandmother Wizard Queen lies in repose surrounded by offerings of abundance and creative plenty. Larger than life and with an ever-spinning spider in her belly, she watches over the others and bestows ingenuity. By reconfiguring these figures and their accompanying objects from her previous installation “Sea of Vapors” at the Museum of Museums, Emily Counts creates new narratives for these figures as they move from space to space.
Emily Counts was born in Seattle, WA, where she currently lives and works. She received her BFA from the California College of the Arts, additionally studying at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Arts and Design, NY; the Oregon Contemporary, OR; the Museum of Museums, WA; the Torrance Art Museum, CA; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, OR; and at the Bellevue Arts Museum, WA. Artist Residencies include Raid Projects in Los Angeles, Plane Space in New York, and a 2020 resident at the Varda Artists Residency Program in Sausalito, CA. Counts has received grants from Artist Trust, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and The Ford Family Foundation. Counts is represented in Oregon by Nationale and in Washington by studio e gallery.