Emi Brener

Uruguayan Artist Working in Painting & Embroidery

01.01.2020   - 31.03.2020

Emi Brener is a visual artist merging the mediums of painting and embroidery, aiming to convey moments of human intimacy, nuance and experience. Life as a queer woman born and living in Uruguay largely influences the artist’s work, always feeling supported creatively by the vibrant queer community there. Another influence are creatives such as portrait painter Nicolas Uribe or Jenny Saville, whose work reveals a deep awareness, both intellectual and sensory, of how the body has been represented over time and across cultures.

Inspired by borrowed thoughts and emotions, Brener looks to expose the vulnerability of the human experience through the meshing of written language and art, while also highlighting the way we use our bodies to interact with one another in many different ways. The results are paintings that often depict fragments of the human figure, never showing the entire body and some even applying a distorted close-up viewpoint, further deepening the work’s sense of intimacy. The way skin and flesh play an important part in our lives is shown in artworks that display text as seemingly carved or burnt into the skin; representing how our emotional scars can manifest themselves physically, and exposing the psychology behind the surface.

I am fascinated by vulnerability and the nuance in the human experience and the forced dualities and dichotomies of private and public, mind and body, open and closed. I want my work to preserve these moments that are often forgotten but are also universal, to be intimacy and rawness preserved in time. I want to show those private moments to the world, then hopefully, someone will recognize themselves in them the same way I often do.

Emi Brener, Artist’s Statement


Joining SomoS early 2020 as part of its Artist-in-Residence program, Brener is continuing a project about human intimacy, through a combination of embroidery and oil paint, based on deeply emotional pieces of writing, including love letters, confessions, journals, private diaries, and suicide notes, in order to capture many aspects of human emotion, from the romantic to the dark, all of which show vulnerability, and embroidering them onto the canvas. The text is then painted over, visualizing the notion of one’s thoughts being just under the skin. The technique of painting over embroidery forges a sense of subtlety, encouraging the viewer to take a closer look and make their own personal connections to the works. The works made by Brener at SomoS in Berlin are presented in Under the Skin.

Currently working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Instituto Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, and a Communications BFA at Facultad de Información y Comunicación, both at Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay, the artist has also completed a summer undergraduate residency program at the New York Academy of Art. While studying, Brener has participated in a number of group shows and had a painting admitted at Festival Internacional de Colonia in Uruguay.

Emi Brener homepage