Nicholas Emery was born in the West Indies, and grew up in the Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and European regions. His childhood influenced his work as an artist—particularly how people and cultures leave their imprint on the land they occupy.
Emery has been a painter for three decades. His work considers the interwoven threads of trauma, beauty and magic in our physical and psychic worlds. In his eyes, sacred space is the condition we create through ritualized behavior so that magic might appear. Magic is understood as an illuminative transformation of self where we come to understand our nature and our place in the web of nature. His work, when effective, contains elements of magic: it may have part of the means to help us see and experience ourselves and our place in the world newly. Broadly, his work is land-based and site-specific. That exploration has led him to an investigation of peoples relationships with nature that includes fire, industry, boundaries, wildness and heritage, among others, and begins with an examination of how the majority human culture imprints itself on the land. Emery’s art includes beauty and trauma, and is a visual echo of what he perceives as taking place on the land.
Emery has an MFA degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work is internationally collected, and he has collaborated, curated and participated in solo and group shows. In 2019, he was awarded a prestigious Andy Warhol Foundation grant to create a short art film based on a series of paintings he developed entitled The Controlled Wild. Emery has also attended artist residencies internationally and in the United States, including in San Souci, Trinidad and Tobago, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson Vermont, Grin City, Grinnell, Iowa and now Prairie Ronde in Vicksburg, Michigan. He currently works out of studio 8280 in the mountains near the Indian Peaks Wilderness west of Denver, Colorado.