Working across diverse media ranging from performance and video work to written publications, Whitebread investigates breaks down and reimagines utopian futures as proposed by architects, social policy makers, technologists and scientists. Her starting point is how visionary ideas are formalised and presented in dogmatic discourse that canonises particular historic moments. She renegotiates these reductive archives to re-imagine the potentialities contained within the original ideas.
With Silver Bells (2019) was commissioned for Art in Romney Marsh. The video dives into my past and present interactions with nature using photograms, my mother's video footage and my own to try and grasp how we as humans can rethink our interactions with non-humans. The work was created during my self initiated residency on the Marsh, a place that I often return to in my work both physically and mentally.
Smooth and Rough (2017) is a performative stream of consciousness, a mixture of reminiscence and evasion, an all embracing impulse, a surveying and mapping of something yet to come. A manifestation of writings about my tongue and my experience of returning to Margate - the town where I grew up. The work was performed by Anna Symes at The Well exhibition curated by Cédric Fauq.
Coming Home (2016) acts as a post-mortem confessional from an avatar of John Betjeman. The piece explores the historical and cultural impact of Betjeman's ‘Shell Guides to English Counties’ on our 21st Century concept of nationhood. The piece is a confessional from Betjeman himself, mixing coherent ideology with false memories and mute arguments.
Whitebread’s process is complex and cyclical using writing as a foundation, and an artistic tool with which to develop strategies for her projects. Her work in archives is both independent of and generative for her practice; ideas depart from and return to her research visually constituting this loop. Mixing reality with fiction she examines the complex and unexpected realities that arise. Collaborating with diverse groups, from acrobats to physicists, is for Whitebread a method to propel unexpected narratives. The resulting work is often a playful proposition or perspective on the world, drawn from diverse sources. A sense of absurdity and a wry sense of humour often surface, as do underlying sharp political agendas.
Whitebread has a MA in ArtScience, Royal Academy Den Haag (2014) and a BA in Fine Art and Art History, Goldsmtihs (2009). Last year Emily received a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company to participate in a month long research residency at the Museo Leonora Carrington de San Luis Potosí. She is a former Open School East Associate, a Florence Trust and Guest Projects artist in residence. Emily has exhibited work both nationally and internationally, and participated in residencies in the UK and The Netherlands. Highlights of her artistic career included Frieze First Thursdays, South London Gallery, Bold Tendencies, Chisenhale Gallery, Whitstable Biennale and TENT Rotterdam.