Thursday, May 23, 2024

How does it feel to have your life change in an instant? Emilie Gossiaux was an art student at the Cooper Union in 2010 when she was hit by an 18-wheel truck while on her bike in Brooklyn. Taken to Bellevue Hospital, she had suffered a traumatic brain injury, a stroke and multiple fractures. While Gossiaux ultimately regained her life, she had lost her sense of sight. She struggled to decide if she could, or even wanted to, continue making art.

“I had to adjust that framework in my head of what it means to be an artist,” said Gossiaux, now 34, who had always viewed her ability to draw and paint as “my absolute superpower.” From age 4, her favorite thing to do was copy cartoons on television.

When sketching, she lays her paper on a rubber pad called a Sensational Blackboard that embosses the lines as she draws with one hand, following along with her other hand to feel the images. “I’m using one hand to ‘see,’ the other hand to carve or draw or manipulate” the object, explained Gossiaux, who did return to Cooper Union, where she graduated in 2014.

This week, Gossiaux’s youthful dream comes to fruition with the opening Wednesday of “Other-Worlding,” her first solo museum exhibition, which runs through April 7.

Three whimsical pen and crayon studies hang on a wall, one with iterations of London floating blissfully. “The sheer joy that comes across in her work, it almost bounces off the page,” said Sarah Cho, an assistant curator at the Queens Museum and a member of the jury that selected Gossiaux for the residency from among some 380 applicants.

“Emotionally, the cane, for me, is the most stigmatized aspect of this highly stigmatized disability — it marks you instantly,” he said. “Emilie really went into the experience of being a blind person in the world and found this image of freedom that is profoundly meaningful to me.”

“I think of touch as a love language; it’s very intimate,” said Gossiaux, who worked as an educator at the Metropolitan Museum giving tours to visually impaired audiences for five years before the pandemic. Gossiaux’s ability to verbally describe works has helped Cho, the curator, write better…

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles