In Skunks and Flowers, Emdur’s skunks are a stand-in for the feminine- sensual, mysterious, and sometimes stinky. Although nocturnal, her skunks slink and shift through a colorful daylight floral that points to the optimistic designs of Vera Neumann, whose scarves, tea sets, tablecloths, bedspreads, and curtains, famously dressed the women and homes of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Emdur’s paintings, produced with ink and matte acrylic-based gouache on paper, mix the colorful opaque print style of Vera’s floral patterns with a contrasting intervention of feathery renderings of black and white skunks. The skunks moment of compositional crossing is humorous and emotive as the skunks fur markings reveal a cipher of “V” messaging.
Skunks and Flowers depict an olfactory collision between the floral and the sulfur-containing chemicals that skunks spray from their anal scent glands as they demand personal space.
In Emdur’s paintings, we find, not the skunks of Bambi or Pepé Le Pew, but rather those that many Angelenos find in their backyards at night. Emdur’s idea of a domestic backyard is a flattened gestural version of a secret garden filled, not just with marks that represent flowers, but with other cycle of life wanderings- hand drawn reproductive diagrams, caricatures of authority figures, self-help texts from the golden age of pop psychology, and chapter titles appropriated from a book that helps children cope with death.
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