Award Winner

Emily Woolley

About Emily Woolley

Emily Woolley is a London-based sculptor and installation artist. Through her practice she is developing a unique and refined material language, combining materials that can slump and hold shape simultaneously to create sculptures that resist preconceived notions of materiality – softness holds weight; hardness trembles. Human in scale, her work concerns the meeting of bodies and the exchanges that happen within that moment. Touch informs and activates her sculpture. Some work, cast flat, gains form through an intimate process of bending, often taking shapes from parts of the artist’s own anatomy – some public, some more private.  At the same time, Woolley explores the effect of presence, both current and past. The proximity of an observer can induce movement. Past interactions are suggested with texture and imprint. 

Most recently she is working with copper and water; utilising water as both meditative instrument and conduit. For example, A Small Ocean Swallowed, a finalist for the 2021 National Sculpture Prize, integrates natural elements to place emphasis back on the environment it sits within. The work draws a copper line in the water to differentiate the enclosed area from the overall body of water. Creating a subtle difference in water textures between two areas, it establishes a relationship between viewer and nature. 

Woolley’s practice explores haptic relationships between audience, sculpture and place. By deploying a range of corporeal elements and more recently, exploring the role of sculpture as conduit, she hopes to implicate the viewer directly within the work; making their body an implicit component of the encounter.