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 Lin (Braselman) Emery  (1926/28 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Louisiana      Known for: large-scale kinetic sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Lin Emery
from Auction House Records.
Flower, 1992
© Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY See Details
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A kinetic sculptor, Lin Emery of New Orleans is known for polished aluminum abstract work that gracefully blows in the wind, resembling the ballet dancing of which she is so enamored.  Of her work, it is written:  "Her works are about grace, form and motion with an unsaid spiritual connection betwen the artist, metal and nature." (55)  She usually polishes her sculpture to be mirror-like, and creates with a sense of spirituality---not expressive of any particular religion but of unity and ascendency into something beyond herself.

Emery was born in Larchmont, New York and tended by an Irish governess, she spent her early years there and in Florida.  At age 15, she enrolled in Columbia University and also attended the University of Syracuse in upstate New York, Mexico, Chicago and Paris in the late 1940s.  In Paris, she became a student of Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967), and this experience became the defining time of her life.  From that time, she "found expression through art." (56)

Returning to the United States, she went to New Orleans, which she had visited in her student days after leaving Syracuse, and she took jobs sculpting life-size religious figures for churches.  However, her interests increasingly leaned towards abstraction, shaping and style she observed when she was doing the welded interior framework for the religious statues whose outer layers made them realistic.

Her studio for preliminary sculpture work is in her home in a 19th-century upscale neighborhood and gives the appearance of being "an industrial metal shop" with its lathes, saws, welding equipment, polishing wheels, piles of scrap metal and electric crane.   She often has a table with small paper or metal models of larger pieces she plans to do.  Until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Emery had a second studio, much larger, for final construction of her sculpture, but it filled with 5 feet of water during the storm, and then was ruined by mold when the water subsided.  She wants to rebuild, but like so many in that city, is uncertain about the timing.

After Katrina, she has completed sculpture that expresses her sense of tragedy and sadness with one of them fittingly named Katrina.  It relates to the churning, angry-seeming water that overtook the city, and associated with unhappiness, is colored black in place of her usual bright, bold and cheerful colors.

Many of her works are big and created for site-specific installation.  An example is Honoo-No-Ki, (Dance of the Tree), which is 36 feet high and is placed in front of the Osaka Dome in Osaka, Japan.  In 1997 for that work, she received Osaka's grand prize for Public Sculpture.

John R. Kemp, "Studio Session: Angels in Flight", Art & Antiques, May 2006, p. 55-57.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist who has one of her pieces, a 40-foot high monument in the Civic Center of New Orleans.

For more than 30 years, all my sculpture has been kinetic -- mainly large- scale work for public spaces. Both the forms and the random movement are inspired by nature. The linked elements may evoke plant or flying forms, and are set in motion by natural forces -- wind or water. Their highly polished surfaces mirror the world around them, while their movement is influenced by infinite variables: the points of balance, the normal frequency of each element, the interruption of the counterpoise. And, of course, the changing flow of wind or water.

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