Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Emma Moore Heslin 

BA [Hons] Art

Emma is an Irish artist, based in Dublin. She is a painter, who works primarily with acrylic paint on primed wood or canvas. Creating figurative and genre pieces, she portrays normal people engaged in everyday scenes. She focuses on studying and depicting body language and deciphering people's untold emotions and thoughts. She aspires to achieve a sense of intimacy within the relationships portrayed. Her subjects are amenable, good-humoured, playful, relaxed, easy-going and calm and remind us to celebrate our humanity. Her work has featured in IADT student shows such as New Translations (IMMA 2019) and Propositions (IADT 2022).

Casual Intimacies

This series of paintings aims to portray ordinary people, engaged in everyday activities. The subject matter focuses on human interactions in social situations, attempting to capture momentary exchanges, revealing the close familiarity of friends and family, relaxed and unaware of the viewer’s gaze. In these paintings I wish to celebrate those unnoticed moments, capturing instances of casual intimacy. I aim to achieve a sense of calm, comfort and familiarity in my work. They are figurative pieces painted with vibrant colour on primed wood and stretched canvas.

Women Artists, the Female Body and the Gaze: An Examination of the Work of Alice Neel and Paula Rego.

This thesis examines how women artists have rescued the depiction of the female body from the male gaze, exploring, in the first chapter, the idea of the gaze, the concept of the male gaze and how it has been used in the creation of Art. This is then followed by an appreciation of the contrasting female gaze, it's empowerment of women and its restoration of agency to them.
In the second chapter, a selection of Alice Neel's artistic production is reviewed which celebrates humanity and subverts art history’s male gaze. In her confrontational, intimate portraits, she unveils an intense and multi-layered view of identity, as seen from a female perspective.
The third chapter focuses on the work of Portuguese/British artist, Paula Rego , who portrays dysfunctional family relationships and explores personal, social and political challenges. She revolutionises the representation of women in her body of work. Her themes of identity and empowerment make her “a strong conveyer of female experience”.
The conclusion refers to other contemporary female artists, who, like Neel and Rego, have also reclaimed female identity in art and are working to rescue the depiction of the female body from the male gaze.