Emma Talbot

Profile image of Fine Art Programme; 2D Pathway tutor, BA Fine Art

Fine Art Programme; 2D Pathway tutor, BA Fine Art

Central Saint Martins


Emma Talbot's practice focuses on the interaction of real life and memory in pictorial form, her fluid brushwork builds an autobiographical world.

Talbot’s large format paintings (on canvas and silk) and drawings are composed of a number of small discrete windows, revealing non-linear narratives. In the ongoing series of three–dimensional forms 'Intangible Things', Talbot's approach to drawing is extended into the material properties of fabric and papier–mâché.

She uses the language of the hand–made with immediacy, to give psychologically driven thoughts and ideas a physical presence. The artist obscures the identity of her protagonists by offering anonymised faces. Missing walls or empty spaces in ornamental patterned backgrounds, based on domestic furnishings, give the viewer literal access to the hidden secret world of the unconscious.

Text fragments introduce their own idiosyncratic typography, reminiscent of Japanese prints, comic books or perhaps just notes written in the margin of schoolbooks. These notes on their own – separated from accompanying images – become a commentary on the life lived.

Her work is featured in the recent Thames and Hudson publications ‘100 Painters Of Tomorrow’ and ‘Drawing People’. Together with Dr Joanne Morra, Emma Talbot runs the CSM research project ‘Intimacy Unguarded’.

Research interests

Contemporary painting, contemporary narrative painting, figuration in painting, drawing.

Research statement

Talbot’s practice focuses on painting and drawing as vehicles for exploring narrative ideas.

The paintings she makes usually contain a series of cell-like spaces in which different events are depicted. These events are of many different encounters, based on personal experiences, family history and narrative fictions. Using a structure of many scenes, scenarios from different times in history and from different places can be seen alongside one another. This allows a visual linking of events and thoughts, not bound by chronology, that gets closer to the way memories are retained and retold.

The work investigates the psychological import of memory and desire. It reveals internal thought and pieces together fact, fiction and false memories to build non-linear narratives. The directness of drawing is very important to the work and grants an immediacy and lightness to the image making.

Selected research outputs

  • You Come To Me In A Dream

    Talbot, Emma (2016) You Come To Me In A Dream. [Art/Design Item]

  • Unravel These Knots

    Talbot, Emma (2016) Unravel These Knots. In: Intimacy Unguarded: Gender, the Unconscious and Contemporary Art, 27 February 2016, Anna Freud Centre, London.

  • Step Inside Love

    Talbot, Emma (2015) Step Inside Love. [Art/Design Item]

  • Memories Turn To Dusk

    Talbot, Emma (2015) Memories Turn To Dusk. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Birmingham Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham

    Talbot, Emma (2015) Birmingham Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Painting as Commitment

    Talbot, Emma (2014) Painting as Commitment. In: Painting as Commitment, 21st June 2014, Firstsite, Colchester.

  • Intimacy Unguarded: Art, Autobiography, Memoir

    Talbot, Emma, Emma Talbot, Joanne Morra (2014) Intimacy Unguarded: Art, Autobiography, Memoir. In: Intimacy Unguarded: Autobiography Symposium, 13th February 2014, Central Saint Martins College, Kings Cross.

  • Connecting to Narrative

    Talbot, Emma (2013) Connecting to Narrative. In: Painting, Past, Present Symposium, 21st November 2013, Laing Art Gallery.

  • Carpet Painting

    Talbot, Emma (2013) Carpet Painting. [Show/Exhibition]

  • The erotic and contemporary art

    Talbot, Emma (2013) The erotic and contemporary art. In: The Modern Erotic, 8 June 2013, The Anna Freud Centre, 12 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3.