Shared Lines Collaborative

Art building resilient cities

Emily Hartley-Skudder

b. 1988, Auckland, New Zealand.

2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) University of Canterbury

Emily Hartley-Skudder PaintingStill Life with Vegetables and Spatula, Oil on Canvas, 840 x 560 mm, 2012.

Emily Hartley-Skudder_Percolator and Donut-2Benchtop with Percolator and Donut, Oil on Calico, 228 x 152 mm, 2012.

Vintage Library Still Life smlVintage Library Still Life, Oil on Calico, 228 x 152 mm, 2012.


Born in Auckland and attended secondary school in Wellington, Emily Hartley-Skudder is now a Christchurch-based artist. Since 2009 Hartley-Skudder has participated in solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand.

Artist Statement

With a unique ability to enchant, tiny replicas of the ordinary entice us to project our fantasies onto them, accentuating a general preoccupation with recreating aspects of our everyday lives. It is this replication of the commonplace that fascinates me, the incessant doubling of activity. My use of miniatures promotes the creation of the uncanny and subtly peculiar, the seemingly standard objects gradually separate from their initial reading. Suspiciously pleasant, the paintings become a generic reproduction of aspects of our routine existence, exalted through obsessive rendering demanding such time and care. They are still lifes, but the objects depicted are painted from photographs of fakes; the imitations of a supposed reality, like representational paintings and photographs themselves.

Description/Methods/ Ideas

Hartley-Skudder’s process involves a series of steps that each remove the image further from its original reality. The artist seeks out and collects a range of miniatures, models and toys. These objects are arranged into carefully lit scenes that are photographed, and the photographs are then carefully translated into paintings. Hartley-Skudder’s practice draws together imagery from varied levels of visual culture and places them in a fine art context. Her work references the traditions of conventional still life painting, along with photorealism, commercial stock photography, cookbook illustrations and advertising imagery from both toy and real-life homeware catalogues. The artist aims to investigate the viewers perception of reality through the photographic of portrayal of artificial objects and the somewhat ‘realistic’ painted photograph. The emulation of a photographic depth of field in paint speaks to the longstanding relationship between the mediums of photography and painting. Combined with this, her images reinforce the uncanny doubling of the everyday that occurs all around us; most specifically, when images of the home are placed within the home.


Discuss the relationship between scale, colour and subject. How do you think the artist’s use of these elements effect the viewers experience?

How does the artist’s process reflect her general artistic concerns of the represenation of the ordinary?


Miniature, Replica, Fake, Shifting, Reality, Representation, Laurie Simmons, Construct, Still Life, Scale, Photorealism, Artificial.

Emily Hartley-Skudder’s Artist Talk

Links and websites section_id=11349393


Emily Hartley-Skudder PDF

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