'The Silent Treatment', Emily Wolfe

Painting of a small grey bird in a simple bird cage against a white wall

Oil on linen, 66 x 86.5cm, 2006

Artist's statement

The primary focus of my work is the interior space, with a particular interest in the domestic interior. These are always unpopulated spaces where there is some suggestion of a human presence. My current body of work is broad in its range of subjects, from tatty wallpapered rooms and windows hung with patterned net curtains through to a range of domestic ornaments and objects, as in The Silent Treatment. But the common thread connecting these paintings is the constant reference to artificial forms of nature.

In a number of the paintings of interiors, references to the natural world are made through the inclusion of wallpapers and fabrics patterned with landscape motifs. There is the suggestion that nature has been transplanted indoors into a domestic environment where it exists only in a symbolic form.

The interior space in 'The Silent Treatment' is that of a bird cage. In this cage there is the usual paraphernalia associated with bird keeping, but the bird itself is absent. Instead, all that remains is an artificial bird, a decoy.


Emily Wolfe was born in Auckland, NZ in 1972. She studied at Elam School of Fine Art University of Auckland New Zealand 1993-96 and the Slade School of Fine Art (with Ryoichi Sasakawa Scholarship Massey University NZ 1999) London 1998-2000. Group exhibitions include Art Futures (Contemporary Art Society) Barbican London 2000, ‘Diversions’, Recent Acquisitions from the University Collection Auckland University NZ 2001, Chockerfuckingblocked Jeffrey Charles London 2003, Beyond the Black Sun The Agency London 2005. Selected solo shows held at Vavasour/Godkin Gallery Auckland NZ 1998, Onetwenty Gallery Ghent Belgium 2005 and Anna Bibby Gallery Auckland NZ 2002, 2006.