Emily Allchurch, born in the Channel Islands in 1974, divides her time between London and her home in Hastings, East Sussex. She trained as a sculptor, receiving a First Class (Hons.) degree in Fine Art from the Kent Institute of Art & Design – Canterbury in 1996, and an MA from the Royal College of Art in 1999, where she began working with photography as a material. Since then, she has exhibited regularly in solo and group shows in the UK and internationally.
Allchurch uses photography and digital collage to reconstruct Old Master paintings and prints to create contemporary narratives. Her starting point is an intensive encounter with a city or place, to absorb an impression and gather a huge image library. From this resource, hundreds of photographs are selected and meticulously spliced together to create a seamless new ‘fictional’ space. Each artwork re-presents this journey, compressed into a single scene. The resulting photographic collages have a resonance with place, history and culture, and deal with the passage of time and the changes to a landscape, fusing contemporary life with a sense of history.
Although also available as prints, presenting the work as lightboxes maximises their theatricality, and creates a window into another world.
In 2015 she had a solo show Emily Allchurch: In the Footsteps of a Master at Manchester Art Gallery, which toured to the Djanogly Art Gallery in Nottingham. Her works are held in private collections worldwide, with a complete set of her ‘Tokyo Story’ series in the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
In 2018, Allchurch was selected as one of six Finalists in the Columbia Threadneedle Prize for Figurative Art, with her lightbox ‘Babel Britain (after Verhaecht)’, which also won the Visitors’ Choice Award. In March 2018, she launched a new artwork, ‘Babel Hong Kong’, at Art Central HK, with Karin Weber Gallery, a project supported by an Arts Council England – British Council International Artists’ Development Award. From 16 May to 26 August 2018, she is having a solo show, Visions of Architectural Fancy, at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.