Emily Church was born in 1981 and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where the experience of nature influenced her artistic process. She attended Washington University in St. Louis from 2000-2004, spending an informative semester abroad in Florence, Italy in 2002, where the frescoes of Renaissance masters such as Masaccio and Giotto made a great impression. She graduated with a BFA in sculpture with a special focus in print and paper making. In 2006, Church moved to Brooklyn, NY and since 2009 has maintained a studio in the Greenwood Heights neighborhood, just south of the arts district of Gowanus and north of Industry City. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from the New York Studio School in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan in 2012. Church has attended artist residencies at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, France in 2004, the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT in 2007, and Yaddo artist colony in Saratoga Springs, NY in 2012. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Brooklyn, NY.
Church's work is based on observations of the surrounding world. Textiles, patterns, repetitions of activity that make up the fabric of her daily life. Tessellations. Constellations. Conversations with old friends, their lives intertwined with hers. Fragments left behind: chrysalises, husks of plants scattering the sidewalk, bivalve shells washed ashore, dead coral bleached by the sun, fossils pressed into stone. Weather as it indifferently affects her daily mood, or epically changes the scope of lives. Earth and the human hubris that is rapidly destroying it. Emotions born from a cumulous cloud lit by a chemical sunset. A rainbow. A ribcage. Church's work is an exploration of psychological space and of interior and exterior worlds; the interior mind and physical body juxtaposed with the urban and natural environments she finds her body inhabiting. As the pieces evolve, they take on the artificiality of urban environments, the artifice of painting itself, and the collision of nature with the man-made. By referring to the history of art through the manipulation of the formal elements of painting, and by twisting the context of knowable objects, her work creates a space and an atmosphere that are both specific and unnamable.
Church's oil painting process involves stretching linen over wood frames, cooking homemade gesso using glue, chalk, and pigments, and making paints from raw pigments. She finds that the process of building a canvas from all the base materials allows her to feel fully connected to the surface even before beginning a painting.