August 16 – 30, 2019
Emma Steinkraus is a visual artist, Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Hampden-Sydney College, and a founding editor of Company Editions, a journal for contemporary poetry and art. She holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Iowa, where she earned an MFA in Painting in 2016. Raised by scientists in the Arkansas Ozarks, she grew up keeping insects, identifying plants, and cultivating prairie habitat. Those early experiences now manifest in a commitment to exploring the complex ways ecology, society, and personal history weave together. Her work has received numerous awards including an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Steamboat Scholarship at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the year-long support of a Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship. She has previously attended residencies at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Pajama Factory, and Cow House Studios Ireland.
Steinkraus makes paintings and immersive installations that tell personal stories about the environment. One recent exhibition paired portraits set in the Arkansas Ozarks with a grow station for local plants, a handmade solar oven, live mushrooms, and a “foraging jacket” that functioned as a wearable field guide. Another exhibition displayed paintings of animals against a backdrop collaged out of photographs of degraded landscapes. Her current project mines archives to attend to the contributions of nearly a hundred early female artist-naturalists. Across media, her work is research-driven and marked by its vulnerability and attention to detail.