(Emma Fielden)

Posted on March 23, 2018 by in Arrests of Attention

A black ink drawing of an irregular circle made up of numerous small spheres


A close up of a section of a black ink drawing composed of numerous small spheres


A close up section of an ink drawing of small black spheres entirely filling the page


An image of a mound of small black particles


A close up image of small black particles


A drawing of an irregular shape entirely composed of the repitition of the handwritten word, zero


A close up of an image entirely composed of the repitition of the handwritten word, zero.


A close up of a drawing entirely composed of the repitition of the handwritten word, nothing.



Gravity and Lightness II 

2018, drawing, archival ink on Arches paper, 76 x 56cm.
Photos by Document Photography.

An Infinite Line (1km)

2017, 1 kilometre of hand cut linen thread.
Photos by Document Photography.

An Infinite Line (1km) reflects upon ideas relating to the divisibility of space and matter, touching on particle physics and astronomy, Zeno’s philosophical paradoxes on infinity and Georg Cantor’s mathematical infinities.

The concept of infinite divisibility proposes that any matter can be divided into an infinite number of infinitesimal parts. To clarify this, think of dividing a line in half, then divide each of those halves in half again, and so on endlessly; the line segments become infinitely many and their size becomes infinitesimal as they move toward, but never actually reach, zero.

In the case of this artwork, the given line is 1 kilometre in length. The artist cut this line of thread by hand into particles as small as she could physically manage, moving toward the infinitesimal. By doing so, the kilometre is reconfigured into a small mound of tiny particles and we see an alternative perception of its monolithic scale. As its large scale is subverted, the infinite nature of the line is revealed, and we see how the small scale too can be infinite.

Zero and Nothing

2016, two text drawings, archival ink on Arches paper, 76 x5 6cm.
Photos by Document Photography.

Fielden’s handwritten text drawings are durational repetitive acts that engage with thoughts relating to prayer, devotional acts, indoctrination, obsession, longing and awe. The artist writes words or numbers by hand in miniscule detail so that, at first glance, the scribed characters appear abstracted as a wash of ink or a nonsensical text.

Zero and Nothing are two drawings that are part of Fielden’s ongoing exploration of the infinite. Zero and infinity are twins, sitting at either end of an endless number line.  Both have no boundaries and are more precisely defined as concepts rather than numbers. Throughout history, both have created conflict, having even been rejected as heretical by the church. These drawings contemplate zero and nothing, an empty number and its philosophical counterpart.


A photo of artist Emma Fielden in her studio

Emma Fielden in her studio at Parramatta Artist Studios, 2018.
Courtesy Parramatta Artists Studio. Photo: Jacquie Manning

Emma Fielden makes artworks to explore ideas spanning the infinite and the infinitesimal, the largest astronomical structures and the smallest constituents of matter, the unseen forces of the universe and our place in it. Initially trained in the discipline of classical music, then jewellery and hand engraving, Emma’s background instilled in her a fixation on minute details and repetitive processes, traits that remain constant for Emma in her multidisciplinary visual arts practice today.

Emma is represented by Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, where you can now see her Gravity and Lightness drawings as part of the Summer Group Show until 4 April. Her work is exhibited regularly in Australia, and she has been a finalist and winner of numerous awards and grants. Fielden is currently in residence at Parramatta Artists Studios, and her next solo exhibition will be held at Dominik Mersch Gallery in November 2018.

Video credit: Tom Compagnoni