February's Artist of the Month: Emily Clayton

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Today we're debuting a monthly feature that highlights an individual artist we really like, and gives you a full idea of what their work is like, what inspires them, who they admire, and how to fully understand the art they're making. February's artist is Emily Clayton. Look for posts about Emily throughout the month, including photos of her studio, a mixtape of tracks she listens to while she's working, and posts she will curate featuring videos, sites, images and ideas that inspire her. We're really excited about it, and we've updated the Country Life banner to include a shot of her paint tubes. (The banner will change periodically to reflect various Country Life topics.)

A little background: I was really interested in Emily's work right away, but I also picked her for our first featured artist because I think a lot of people don't know about her. She has all sorts of local ties — she grew up in Savannah, Tenn., and went to art school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. But she moved to Chicago right after she graduated, and she'd been living there up until about a year ago. Since arriving back in her Southern homeland, she hasn't exhibited in local galleries, but she continues to show in Chicago, where she just wrapped up a dual exhibition with Eileen Mueller at Roots & Culture.

I probably wouldn't have known about Emily if I hadn't gone to an open studio event in the Chestnut Square building last year. I immediately loved her work, which takes ideas and iconic objects — like the clay pigeons used in target practice, and the backdrops you get your photograph taken in front of at Sears — out of their intended context, altering them so that they become almost like fetishes of their original intentions. She doesn't just appropriate the objects, but the ideas behind them as well.

Look through some of Clayton's most recent work after the jump. And look for a post curated by her tomorrow.

Untitled (Sexy Rothko)
  • "Untitled (Sexy Rothko)"

Purple Mass
  • "Purple Mass"

Pink over Orange over Yellow over
  • "Pink Over Orange Over Yellow Over"

Untitled (Sweep)
  • "Untitled (Sweep)"

Big Sweep, installation view
  • "Big Sweep," installation view

Untitled (Skeet Wall)
  • "Untitled (Skeet Wall)"

Sad Cycle
  • "Sad Cycle"

Achrome (for P.Manzoni)
  • "Achrome (for P.Manzoni)"

Little Ghost
  • "Little Ghost"

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