Emma C. Aspeling was born in the spring of 1995 in Philadelphia, Western Cape, South Africa. She received a BA in Fine Art from Stellenbosch University in 2017. In her final year of studying she started focusing on drawing as a somatic, non-figurative outlet to thoughts, feelings and impulses.

Aspeling started exhibiting as a student. She undertook two improvised drawing and sound collaborative experiments at the Gallery of University Stellenbosch (GUS), which signaled her interest in and movement into drawing and sound in the form of interventions or events that push the boundaries of the mark as the lived mark of individual experience. Since the completion of her undergraduate studies she is focused on mark-making on a smaller, more intimate scale that attempts to capture the imbued relevant/irrelevant fleeting moment as autographical impulse. Derived from the autographical trace is the unfolding (to be developed and explored) therapeutic possibilities of drawing. 

The artist is currently living and working in Somerset West. 

Artist statement:

In the action of marking, what blind passage of memory is triggered?

“I have always understood drawing to be, in essence, the materialization of a continually mutable process, the movements, rhythms, and partially comprehended ruminations of the mind: the operations of thought”. (Avis Newman in conversation with Catherine de Zegher 2003: 67)

I am interested in the marks that are made through drawing processes that do not (try to) emulate, but are made as an outlet to thoughts, feelings or impulses drawn from my internal space, taking the form of trait – a mark, line or stroke of self. I suspect that these marks could reveal something of one’s thoughts and/or inner state that extends beyond the veil of words. Mark shapes the artistic impetus by which I externalize that which is specific to me.

Drawing maintains a central role in my practice, as process and in process. I often work in dimly lit spaces or with my eyes closed, to minimize ‘seeing’ the outcome and in effect more energetically harness my somatic sensing and inner feelings that result in thought and action.  The outcome of this process or action/events could vary from large scale drawings generated during performative collaborations to documenting impulsive moments via the medium of video, to smaller more intimate journal-like drawings.