In her latest body of work, infinite systems, Coulter explores the limitless possibilities of the application of her idiosyncratic colour system across various supports.
Through her expanded painting practice and spatial outcomes, Coulter makes reference to the mystical, conceptual and organisational device of the grid: autonomous works, composed within the demarcated surfaces of traditional canvas supports, sculptural steel structures and the gallery walls itself. These mediums create boundaries, providing a framework for the infinite system for coloured geometric shapes and structures to play out, interconnect, repel and at times deceive the eye. Perceptual optics challenge the navigation of space through colour vibrations. Whilst Coulter’s works are self-referential, the infinite compositions of tessellated geometry and spectral colour appear almost cropped from a much larger conceptual fabric, referring to something well beyond the frame. Through her chromo-spatial practice, the artist challenges the possibilities of the physical boundaries of her spatial supports.
Coulter works with colour in a serial way through a refined colour palette. Developed throughout her extensive artistic career and meticulous practice, she has created her own bold, idiosyncratic spectrum. This chromatic language, like her expansion of the supports of her individual works, is apparent across the entirety of Coulter’s practice and situated distinct bodies of work outside of their moment of exhibition, in dialogue with each other. Her work is an investigation into the semantics of colour and form – the creation of meaning and language through spatial and colour arrangements in infinite systems.
Emma Coulter has received wide-spread recognition for her astute, multi-disciplinary practice. Working across painting, sculpture and site-specific spatial deconstructions, her most recent and notable accolades include the 2021 commission of her most important work to date: a 130-metre-long spatial deconstruction commission in central Melbourne, occupying an entire city block at Melbourne’s most prominent intersection. In the same year she was also the recipient of the biannual Footscray Art Prize (mural category), for her spatial deconstruction work on the Footscray Community Arts Centre facade. 2021 also saw the artists selection as QUT’s fourth Alumni Triennial at QUT Art Museum, with a presentation of sculptures, paintings, process work and a new site-specific façade intervention – this in acknowledgement of her significant achievements as an artist and alumni. Coulter was the recipient of the Linden New Art Prize in 2016 and in 2018, following an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, was invited to create a new, site-specific work for NewWoman, an exhibition celebrating the work of ground-breaking female artists held at the Museum of Brisbane. Awarded in 2021, this year will see Coulter achieve two major Australian public artworks: an exterior façade work with integrated sculptures within Melbourne’s art precinct, and an expansive architecture sculpture commission for Yarilla Place, Coffs Harbour’s new cultural centre on Gumbaynggirr country in NSW.