What’s an It Girl? An image of an seraphic figure, glowing almost too bright to be looked at until the flashbulbs recharge and the cameras become visible. Glamoured, the viewer is still seeing spots and rubbing their eyes as the figure stalks out of view, no-one quite sure if she’s real or not, an apparition disappeared. An apparition, by its very nature is uncertain, the intention defined by the person who sees it - The angel becomes a monster if enough people describe it so.

Emily Ferguson’s It Girl., her first exhibition with Nicodim, is one part loose meditation on the female experience as described in the artist’s own visual language, and another an exploration of paint, aesthetics and style. These new works oscillate between implied narrative and pure innervation, shifting seamlessly between the spoken and the felt, an exploration of how one might establish a visual relationship to an emotional sensation.

Perhaps an unintentional allegory for the indefinability of femininity, Ferguson’s latest output shirks the modern painter’s tendency towards branding, instead presenting a body of work in which the aesthetic language of each painting is defined in the process of making, a dialogue between the image, the artist and the other works in the family—family not in the genealogical sense but the metaphysical one, carrying an infinite maternal gaze, offering the viewer a contemplative opportunity but never forcing their hand.

The painterly concern in these works cannot be overstated. Moving seamlessly between styles, creating an opportunity for viewers to enter a contemplative dialogue with the beingness of paint, expanding beyond notions of figuration and into pure material. Whether in transparent washes or opaque daubs, the artist allows pigment to speak for itself, pushing and pulling at the content of the imagery whether to confront the viewer with the tactile nature of the subject or to hide it away, in thin but impenetrable strokes.

A California native, Emily Ferguson’s It Girl. is both unmistakably Los Angeles and utterly in the wind, presenting an experience felt universally but unique to the beholder. — Allan Gardner