London / United States
Emily Marbach is an American figurative artist based in London. She has exhibited several works at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and in various galleries in London and Dorset. From painting landscapes and adding to the narrative through small painted, collaged figures, Emily began her journey into the world of collage. Combining collage and another passion, printmaking, is her main focus currently.
Emily had her first solo collage exhibition at Slash-Arts London in May 2022. She has also exhibited work in the Todos Y Nada exhibition at the Vayo Gallery in Rochester, NY.
Marbach's more recent projects have been Jewish in theme. In September, she exhibited an extensive collection of collages for the Hidden Identity Project's Sky of Stars exhibition. The artwork explored the theme of the Bulgarian Jews experience during the Holocaust and the little-known fact that none of the Jewish residents of Bulgaria was deported to the death camps. She has made a series of 29 collages in response to Proverbs 31, which begins, "A woman of worth who can find, her price is far above rubies." Another project is a book, the Collage Haggadah, which includes over seventy handmade collages exploring the themes of the festival of Passover and the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. She spoke on the subject in March at the Jewish Book Festival. Emily's work has been published in Collage Care by Laurie Kanyer and Collage Your Life by Melanie Mowinsky.
This October, a series of collages will be hung in the second international collage exhibition in Cuzco, Peru, organised by the Colorbox Group.
When I first began collaging with found materials, I called myself the reluctant collagist because I felt an immense responsibility with one kind of images and was scared of committing them to glue. So my early collages were all made with scraps and leftovers from around the images. But little by little (and the pandemic helped in this regard), I began to feel it was now or never and that saving my “best” images for a rainy day had come. There were many of them all in a row. My collages have an optimistic bent as I am an optimist. The world is going through difficult changes and a crisis, and I’m hoping my art can be the chink of light that makes all the difference.
Who are you (tell us briefly about yourself)?
I am an American collagist who has lived in London for the past 29 years. I am a mother of four. I trained as a teacher. Although I spend most of my time practising my art, I have volunteered for about a decade at some local schools. I enjoy reading fiction, cooking and baking and travelling back to Japan, Israel and the USA, three of the countries I have lived in.
What inspires your art practice?
I am inspired by artists both living and from long ago. I am inspired by world events and politics. I am inspired by the random bits of paper I find, collect, save and rediscover. I am inspired by nature and the changing seasons. I’m inspired by ideas, personal experiences and religion (the images from all the stories). I’m inspired by the artists I interact with on Instagram; their community, though virtual, feels very real and vibrant.
What drives you to keep going every day?
I came to art in my mid-30s. I had always done something creative, but sometimes it was through words or clay. It was only when I discovered painting and then, a decade later, collage, that I found my voice. But because I hadn’t found my outlet in my 20s or younger, I have always felt I was behind and needed to catch up. I need no motivation. Every day, I make up for the lost time.
What's the number one advice to fellow women artists?
My advice would be not to censor yourself because you think someone else wouldn’t approve. Look up the artist Ana Mendieta, who made some very uncomfortable and impactful art in her tragically short life.