Emily Mason's paintings are explorations of the expressive possibilities of colour. Sheets of vibrant hues float across her canvases, drifting together and meeting as if for a fleeting moment. Using a range of paint applications, Mason creates pools of colour that vary in density—flat expanses merge with delicate clouds of pigment, coalescing into deceptively complex compositions.
While her works may be broadly characterised as celebrations of colour, each painting has an individual mood and captures a particular emotional and chromatic temperature. With a nuanced touch, the artist implies the passage of time and conveys unnamable yet specific experiences in her paintings. As Karen Wilkin notes, Mason clearly 'delights in colour and revels in the fluidity of her chosen medium.'
Emily Mason has spent more than six decades exploring her distinctive vein of lyrical, luminous abstraction. Her paintings executed in oil are distinguished by a sense of intriguing intimacy combined with uncompromising, though gentle, intensity. They evince a sense of structure within open, luminous space and juxtapose robust color harmonies with vivid contrasts that create an engaging optical vibration. Robert Berlind said of her in Art in America, 'Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.'
Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason graduated from New York City's High School of Music and Art. She studied at Bennington College for two years before attending and graduating from the Cooper Union. She spent 195658 in Italy on a Fulbright grant for painting, where she studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice.
Mason has exhibited steadily since she emerged on the Tenth Street gallery scene with multiple exhibitions at the Area Gallery in New York City in the 1960s. In 1979 she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy. She taught painting at Hunter College for more than thirty years. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections.
Press release courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery.