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12 Questions: Emily Moores

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Emily Moores is a visual artist living and working in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her work consists of hand-cut and ornately layered materials, which create both wall works and large scale installations. Emily's work investigates the playful engagement of the body as essential to understanding and experiencing spaces or objects. Emily was selected as one of the Women to Watch 2020 by the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery in collaboration with the Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She created 'Let's Celebrate,' a large-scale installation consisting of wood, paper and fabric.

Emily earned her BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art in 2008 and her MFA from The University of Cincinnati in 2014. She has shown her work nationally, including the Akron Art Museum (OH), the Contemporary Arts Center (OH), the Ruffin Gallery (VA), the Loudon House (KY), and the Dougherty Arts Center (TX). Emily Moores was a recipient of the Ohio Cultural Arts Individual Artist Award, the Summerfair Individual Artist Grant and the ArtPrize Seed Grant.


My art work investigates the playful movement of a body as essential to understanding and experiencing spaces or objects. Inspired by Susan Best's book, Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde, I am interested in exploring how art relates to interpretation of feeling, emotion, and affect. My work explores tactility, and its ability to immaterially communicate feeling. I use the playful textures to increase energy, release positive endorphins and improve memory.

I create paintings that are whimsical using colorful patterns, textures, and ornamentation. My intricate patterns and design elements weave together a combination of detailed brushwork, and highly textured hand cut paper and fabric. My goal is to use the movement of an individual's body to empower their imagination. I often find that my bright colors and patterns remind individuals of an experience or an object. I want people to be empowered to make their own connections when looking at my artwork. Simply looking and observing abstract art is play.

1.What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

There are two books that really changed the way that I think about art. The first is Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde by Susan Best, and the second is 'Purpose-built' Art in Hospitals: Art With Intent by Judy Rollins.

Visualizing Feeling changed my relationship to art by giving me the tools to use my body as a means to understand works of art. ‘Purpose Built’ gave me insight into the many ways viewers can engage a work of art. While Judy Rollins focuses on hospital environments, I feel this book can be applied to other spaces.

2.What are you currently working on?

I have two exhibitions this year. The first one is in April. I am getting all of my materials together along with the ‘outline’ of my installation. I typically have a rough idea of where I want my materials to go. Once I am in the space, I start with my rough idea, but I will make changes to better fit the space as I construct the work.

I am starting to get an idea for my exhibition in September, but I probably won’t really focus on it until after April.

3.How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

I have failed a lot. Failure is important, but it can also feel overwhelming and unmotivating. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I tried to start a painting club in college. I have failed on many exhibition/grant applications.

Failure taught me about humility. When something doesn’t work the way I want it to, I have to be honest with myself about why.

4.What is your most unusual habit?

I start my day with dancing.

5.If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why?

I would choose Amy Reidel. I love her work! She paints portraits, but also makes installation work. I feel like she would create a portrait not just of my physical appearance, but who I am as an artist as well.

6.What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office? What is your studio like? Could you share an image?

A cup of coffee is my indispensable item in my studio.

My studio is always a complete mess. I wish that it was clean. I keep telling myself that I’m going to clean it, but that happens once a year.

7.When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

When I feel uninspired, I usually cut apart old artwork or left over materials. Then I create collages. In the past, these stayed in my studio, but recently, I have begun sharing them on my website.

I continually apply to exhibitions. Having a deadline is a good way to have something to work towards.

8.Who/What influences your work?

I love following other artists on Instagram. I love Maggie Ramirez Burns (@maggieramirezburns) and Holly Wong (@hollywongart). I love their use of materials and color.

9.Do you collect anything?

I am not a collector. (Unless you consider my inability to throw away paper scraps a collection.)

10.What words of advice would you give to your younger self?

In my twenties, I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I was bumbling around and not really getting anywhere. I would tell my younger self that eventually my hard work and dedication will add up.

When I was young, I would try to imagine who I would be as I got older. And I just couldn’t imagine myself in the future. Now that I am in my late thirties, I can see how my bumbling, my hard work, and my love for art have led me to where I am today.

11.In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice?

Belief that I can make art my only job.

12.Share an inspiring image.

Emily Moores is a part of our current group exhibition: OBJECT / IMAGE / AURA on ARTSY

James May Gallery | 2201 N Farwell, Milwaukee, WI | 262-753-3130

Please continue to support us by visiting our Artsy page and feel free to contact us: 262-753-3130


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