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E. M. Skinner Debuts Abstract Art at Frame Up Basement Gallery

Photo courtesy of E.M. Skinner.

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor
Although she hails from a traditional background in art, E. M. Skinner has made a name for herself in Oxford’s art scene with a current exhibition of abstract art currently on display at The Frame Up Basement Gallery—located at 125 Courthouse Square.
Originally from Michigan, Skinner first started off as an art history major, which she then switched to archeology. After spending two years at Western Michigan University she not only decided to transfer to the University of Michigan, she also decided to change her major one last time from archeology to anthropology.
She said she decided on the finalized switch thinking it would be a better fit for her career in the job market at the time. However, she managed to find her way back to painting.
After marrying her husband, a midshipman in the Navy, the two moved to Virginia where Skinner spent many hours watching YouTube videos and practicing the craftsmanship of watercolor.
“I studied watercolor for five years,” she said. “I really fell in love with watercolor.”
Skinner describes herself as a draftswoman—someone who’s artistic strengths lies in drawing—even though she found a new passion in watercolor.
She said she loves abstract art, however, applying the technique with watercolor became a little bit more challenging, which forced her to start using acrylic and oils as a medium instead.
After watching Youtube videos on abstract, Skinner said it was fun taking her structured background and applying it to the technique.
“Abstract to me is basically you’re painting that which does not exist,” Skinner said. “It was a nice challenge for me. I got a little tired of painting flowers and pears.”
Skinner first begins by applying her background to the canvas, which is usually of medium value. She then adds her black and white paints to enforce three different mediums, which she said are considered the rules in the painting world.
“I’ve met the rules, so now I can play,” she said. “And then it is whatever strikes me.”
Skinner’s current exhibit at Frame Up was inspired by Charlie Musselwhite’s latest album, she said. The album is centered around “blue songs,” which is reflected in Skinner’s artwork.
“The whole collection is based on blue songs,” she said. “But the individual names are random because I want the audience to make up their own story. That’s up to [the viewer] and the artwork.”
Skinner’s current collection will be on display in Frame Up through the month of August for Oxonians to enjoy.
The artist’s reception will be held on Aug. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.

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