Emma Chalmers is an Auckland-based artist from Southland New Zealand. Her rural upbringing informs much of her work, which through the mediums of painting and installation explicates issues relating to gender, power and place.   

Chalmers’ works are largely narrative and figurative in character, engaging with social and political issues via social observation and representation. Working with theories of institutional critique and feminism she explores how gender and power relations play out within art spaces. For example, through examining the slippages of language and problematizing its inherent binaries, and through utilizing the conditions of the exhibition space itself. These conditions include the physical structure of the gallery, which in her installations Chalmers compromises, intervenes in and cuts open. Such actions create a gesture of openness, referencing the voices that have been and continue to be on the outside of institutional spaces. 

In this way, a belief in diversity threads its way through Chalmers’ practice. Whether depicting a discrete social interaction or issue, or conducting a systemic critique, inclusivity and acceptance are to the fore.

Kari Schmidt 





Current   Elam School of Art, MFA

2009      Otago Polytechnic School of Art, BFA   

2005      Cultural Exchange, Liceo Artistico, Italy


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2016   Giving The Slip, MFA Grad Show, Elam School of Art, Auckland

2015   Wonder Word, Bellamy's Gallery, Dunedin

2013   Summer of Gauguin, 30 Upstairs, Wellington

2012   Around The Block On Tenterhooks, Otago University Library, Dunedin

2012   Grip and Release: Hold Us Close Like A Child, Blue Oyster Project Space, Dunedin

2012   Zygote, Sanderson Gallery, Auckland 

2011   On The Edge Of The Alphabet, None Project Space, Dunedin

2010   Papery Godfolk, COCA Gallery, Christchurch


Selected Group Exhibitions

2017    Back to Fore, George Fraser Gallery, Auckland

2017   Intertextual, Elam Projectspace Gallery, Auckland

2016   Art Is A Living Thing, Aratoi, Wairarapa

2015   Dunedin Artists in Wellington, Bowen Galleries, Wellington

2015   New Dunedin Painting, Brick Brothers Gallery, Dunedin

2014   Drawl III, Bellamy's Gallery, Dunedin

2013   Drawl II, Bellamy's Gallery, Dunedin

2013   Blue Oyster International Art Fair, Salisbury Boutique, Dunedin

2012   Animalis, Inge Doesberg Gallery, Dunedin

2012   Drawl !, George Street Studio, Dunedin

2011   Three Shades Off White, None Project Space, Dunedin

2010   Lets Roar Loudly, Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin 

2009   Papery Godfolk, SITE09, Otago Polytechnic School of Art

2006   Progetto Quartiere, San Vitale, Italy


Reviews / Writing

2013   Pullar, E. Summer of Gauguin, Catalogue text, 30 Upstairs, Wellington

2012   Driessen, E. Priets and Protests, eyecontact, 30 October 2012

2012   Claessen, S. Findings In The Dig: Excavations On The Fertile Body, Catalogue text,             Zygote, Sanderson Gallery, Auckland

2011   We Are Optimistic. ed, Lets Roar Loudly: Conversations about Art and Feminism.                WAO Publishing, Dunedin, pg 33 - 36





Residencies / Awards

2016   (Joint Runner-up) Anne and Lola Tunbridge Watercolour Scholarship, University of             Auckland

2016   Merit Award, Molly Morpeth Art Award, Whakatane

2015   Lavinia Winter Fellow, New Zealand Pacific Studios, Wairarapa

2013   Artist in Residence, 30 Upstairs Gallery, Wellington