Emily E. Erb

Loosely Loaded
June 10 – August 26, 2016

Emily E. Erb makes large-scale, collaged silk paintings. Culling appropriated images from a diverse body of source material—ranging from vintage Life magazines and “The World Book Encyclopedia” to 19th-century American currency and firearm catalogs, Erb hand paints meticulously detailed textiles that question American historical narratives, political and social inequalities, and environmentalism.

“Emily’s work is beautiful, intricate and extremely smart,” said Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. “She’s a great artist to bring to VisArts because she blends two media—fiber and painting—with explosive results.”

“Loosely Loaded” presented for the first time selections from the eight-part series, Narratives, inspired by poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Book of Hours: Love Poems to God.” Additionally, for this exhibition, Erb created a new series of silk paintings, which critically interrogate symbols such as the ouroboros, cross, diamond and biohazard sign. In doing so, she offered her most political statement to date.

The Richmond native, who is now based in Philadelphia, has exhibited her work at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.; the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga.; the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, Minn.; the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, Del.; and the Museum of American Finance in New York, N.Y. In the summer of 2016, Erb completed her first public art project for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa.

Erb earned a B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art and an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She is a graduate of the Henrico Center for the Arts.

Exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond are supported by a grant from Altria Group, Inc. “Loosely Loaded” was presented with support from a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and the Windgate Charitable Trust. The exhibition was accompanied by an original catalog and documentary video documenting Erb’s studio process.

“Loosely Loaded” was curated by Amanda Dalla Villa Adams.