Emi­ly Floyd
Cho­sen by a Cat

5th April – 1st June 2024
Anna Schwartz Gallery

We gaze at the cat – inscrutable, enig­mat­ic, ungovern­able, autonomous – and it reflects back our soft blink­ing affec­tion­ate gaze. In Emi­ly Floyd’s new exhi­bi­tion Cho­sen by a Cat’, the cat’s sim­pli­fied and cur­va­ceous form is ren­dered in shiny pati­nat­ed bronze. It’s an object with a beguil­ing, divine, even erot­ic charge – vibrat­ing with main char­ac­ter’ ener­gy – an impres­sion under­scored by its posi­tion. Sit­ting on a shelf, framed by a series of bold­ly coloured cres­cent shapes that lead the eye back to the cen­tre, this ele­gant cat occu­pies tar­get posi­tion. Curled del­i­cate­ly beside it is a petal-like object that asserts an intrigu­ing and sur­re­al presence. 

The exhi­bi­tion draws inspi­ra­tion from the open­ing pages of Always Com­ing Home’, a nov­el by the famed sci-fi Amer­i­can nov­el­ist Ursu­la K. Le Guin in which the author sit­u­ates the char­ac­ters in rela­tion to the ani­mals and pets they live with. Le Guin’s sto­ry of a post-apoc­a­lyp­tic soci­ety cen­tres on the sur­vivors known as the Kesh peo­ple. The author – admired for her abil­i­ty to build imag­i­nary worlds – engages in a form of spec­u­la­tive anthro­pol­o­gy invent­ing, among oth­er details, a com­plete alpha­bet and lan­guage for the inhab­i­tants. Floyd ref­er­enced this alpha­bet in an ear­li­er work from 2017 for which she designed a type­face based on the Kesh alpha­bet. The petal-like object rest­ing on the shelf is one of its letterforms.

Emi­ly Floyd con­tin­ues to devel­op her inter­est in geom­e­try as an organ­is­ing prin­ci­ple that lends shape, dynamism, and vol­ume to the work. It is aug­ment­ed by the artist’s dis­tinc­tive and iden­ti­fi­able colour palette of vivid pri­ma­ry colours. In this work, she com­bines sculp­tur­al ele­ments with the rec­ti­lin­ear dimen­sions of a painting. 

Post human­ism, a strand of phi­los­o­phy that views humans as co-evolv­ing with oth­er life-forms, envi­ron­ment and tech­nol­o­gy, informs Floyd’s cur­rent work. Along­side this enquiry, the artist has drawn on polit­i­cal the­o­ry, social move­ments and ped­a­gogy in think­ing and shap­ing work in the past. In a myr­i­ad of ways Floyd’s art prac­tice wor­ries this ques­tion of how we cre­ate mean­ing and con­cepts, and the role of lan­guage and texts in shap­ing cul­ture and soci­ety, more broadly. 

From Art Col­lec­tor Mag­a­zine,’ April 2024 by Anna Zagala