Emily Ritz / Lumpland

Artist Statement


Inspired by coral reefs and lush forests, Emily Ritz uses drawing, painting, sculpture and embroidery to bring her unique vision of beauty to life. Everything she creates is done completely by hand and no two pieces are alike. Her love of repetition is quite apparent in the hyper detailed patterns that grow over each piece. After living in Northern California for nine years, her work is very much infused with the colors and textures of the West Coast. Since her move back home to upstate New York, Emily has taken up ceramics and continues to delve deeper into her imagined world of natural beauty. Her visual language expands as she now finds joy in merging her artistic style with practical objects like vases, planters and candle holders. Emily uses the word Lumpland as a descriptive and playful way to name her creations and the world in which they exist. 

"I have developed unique processes for each kind of Lumpland that I make. When I am working on paper I will often lay the watercolor down first and then draw on top of it, letting the paint determine a lot of the movement and composition of the piece. If I am working with clay I take a more rudimentary approach, starting with a block of clay and shaping it by hand into a vase or bowl shape and then adding one tiny scale or barnacle on at a time. For me, the time consuming nature of the work is wonderful. It is so important that my process be meditative and intuitive so I can fully and easily delve into the bliss of creation. Each piece involves minimal planning mostly around choices of color and pattern.

The ways in which it becomes more complex are hidden. For example I have named many of my plant patterns using a gibberish language my sister and I spoke as kids called Boolala Koolala. Made up words like Flanjii and Keekeenashu are assigned to each style of lump. I'm very Inspired by antique botanical illustrations and absolutely in love with the idea of creating my own world. The language element enhances my relationship with the work and helps to expand it even further. There are many levels embedded in Lumpland as it has evolved over the past five years and there are many more to come as I explore new materials and techniques. Recently, the addition of body parts into my drawings have elevated the work in that it immediately makes it more relatable to the viewer. Lumplands have healing powers and adding in bodies helps to better express that aspect within the plantlike imagery."

Emily is currently working on a series of coloring books set to launch this year and she looks forward to seeing how people interact with her Lumplands.