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Tracey Emin: Little Owl - Signed Print

Little Owl
Signed Print

Tracey Emin


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Etching, 2005
Signed Print Edition of 200
H 14cm x W 20cm

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

Emin was born in south London in 1963, into the thick of a blooming technicolour age referred to as ‘The Swinging Sixties’. The period marked the beginning of a youth-driven cultural revolution, besides marking the birth of third-wave feminism.

Emin’s drawings, which lie at the heart of her most vulnerable artistic creations, are filled with allegories and manifest how outstanding of a draughtswoman she really is. Her delicate lines, subtle tone and smooth texturing convey pure emotion, technical proficiency and genuine interest in her craft. There is a rhythm to the angst, confusion, joy, what-have-you captured in Emin’s Animal drawings. Within her fragmented and associative network of mementoes, she addresses various aspects of inner life, confined by behaviourist structures.

Succeeding It’s What I’d Like To Be, Emin’s Little Owl from 2005, also known as Little Owl - Self Portrait, depicts the artist as an owl. She sits perched and partly hidden in her tree trunk lair. The solitary and nocturnal bird is a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, transition and time. Emin here translates the animal’s iconicity into a representation of the pain of her past and the excitement of a future unknown. She situates herself in between the two, as a small and watchful creature alone though safely nestled, on a quiet journey of growth and self-improvement.

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