Emily Hesse is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in North-East England who draws materials from her surrounding landscapes to tell stories of place, social history and the passing of time, unpacking complex narratives that define working class communities.
Hesse produced Blackbirds Born from Invisible Starsin 2019, a bookwork she describes as a “sculptural object” and separate from its content which is a semi-autobiographical, prose-based view of what “strategic regionalism means to an artist of [her] background, age and position.”
Her 2018 solo exhibition The Taste of This History: A Church in my Mouth (Workplace Gallery, Gateshead) addressed the barriers Hesse faces as a female, working class, middle aged artist. For example, The Centre of Things 2018played on craft traditions associated with the feminine, featuring a needle hanging on thread woven from local moorland wool and the hair of Hesse and her daughters.
Hesse’s most recent work Kissing the Bees (2019) is 17-minute film installation shot on a mobile phone, bringing together research into witchcraft of the North York Moors as an early form of matriarchal social organising.
To find information on the other finalists for the 2020 Visual Arts Award go here.