Rory Emmett

1992 - 


Rory Emmett was born in 1992 in Cape Town, South Africa. Emmett lives and works in Cape Town, where he is currently a resident artist at Greatmore Studios. He completed his BAFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT in 2014, where he majored in painting and won the Judy Steinberg Painting Prize in his final year. Emmett was a Sasol New Signatures Merit award winner in 2015 and his work can be found in a number of private and corporate collections. He began teaching art at Cedar High School of the Arts in 2016-2018 and subsequently completed his PGCE with art and design didactics at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2017. Emmett now works as a full-time practising artist whilst teaching on a part-time basis at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Emmett works in a de-constructivist approach to the language, performance and alchemy of painting. Often employing both allegory and reality, his projects attempt to explore notions of space, knowledge and identity creation towards a metaphysical and spiritual state of transcendence - an attempt at elevation beyond the mundane. Emmett interrogates colour and its various ideological and material implications, referencing the personal and political by working with what he finds around and within himself as his most immediate point of departure. Consulting Eurocentric ideals of beauty and success that perpetually infiltrate the contemporary African landscape, Emmett attempts to draw attention to that which is sometimes taken for granted and often "normalized". Through various devices within the lense of painting, he attempts to explore dominant discourses surrounding South Africa’s growing democracy and somewhat idealistic notions of ‘Rainbowism’.

Solo exhibitions

2019 Building Ground: Grey Areas, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town

2017 Concerning Alchemy, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2016 Survey: Selected Works, Rheede str, Cape Town

2014 Colourman, (Graduate Exhibition), Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town

Group exhibitions

2019 Present Passing: South by SouthEast, Osage Gallery, Hong Kong

2019 Surfaces, Kelvin Corner, Woodstock, Cape Town

2019 Investec Cape Town Art Fair with 99 Loop Gallery, CTICC, Cape Town

2019 The Main Complaint, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town

2019 KWAAI, Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town

2018 The Devil Loves When We Loathe Ourselves, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town

2018 Cape to Tehran, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town

2018 HERE AND NOW, Greatmore Studios, Woodstock, Cape Town

2017Throughlines: Greatmore Studios Showcase 2017, Greatmore Studios, Woodstock, Cape Town

2017 Dress Code, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town

2017 A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town


2016 Abstracted, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town

2016 THAT ART FAIR, The Palms Décor & Lifestyle Centre, Woodstock, Cape Town

2016 OTHERWISE, Sosesame Gallery, Johannesburg

2016 New Monuments, Commune. 1 Gallery, Cape Town

2016 Sitditaf - Switch it Off, Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom

2016 THAT ART FAIR, The Palms Décor & Lifestyle Centre, Woodstock, Cape Town

2016 But He Doesn’t Have Anything On!, Commune. 1 Gallery, Cape Town

2016 NEW VOICES IV: Spatial relations, Lizmore & Associates Gallery, Parkwood, Johannesburg

2015 Sasol New Signatures 2015 Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria

2015 ArtMeets Camera:The Mechanisms of Memory. Fringe Art Fair, Arts on Main, Johannesburg

2015 Form & Substance. Erdmann Contemporary, Kloof Street Gardens, Cape Town

2015 Portrait 100 (Sanlam Portrait Award Finals), Casa Labia Gallery, Muizenberg, Cape Town

2015 EMERGING PAINTERS: The Graduate Show, Turbine Art Fair, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg

2015 The AVA/Strauss & Co Open Printmaking Studio Residency, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2015 (In) The Nature of Things, Hermanus Fyn Arts, Old Synagogue Building, Hermanus

2015 Revisiting The Latent Archive Through Sites, Greatmore Studios, Woodstock, Cape Town

2015 Claims to Land, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2015 Movie Snaps: Cape Town Remembers Differently, District Six Home coming Centre, Cape Town

2015 GREATEST HITS 2014: The Domestic Odyssey, AVA Gallery, Cape Town