Emilie L. Gossiaux: The Valley of Magic, 2018, ink on newsprint, 11½ by 9 1/8 inches.
Almond and Piggy Pink are two evocative Crayola crayon colors that Emilie L. Gossiaux uses in her drawings. The New Orleans–born, New York–based artist has relied on the memories and sensory experiences these descriptors call to mind ever since she became blind—the result of being hit by an 18-wheeler while riding her bike. At the time of the accident, Gossiaux was studying art at Cooper Union; last year, she earned her MFA from Yale. At many art schools, blind contour drawing is a classic assignment: students are prompted to look only at the subject in front of them, not at their drawing. Gossiaux adapts this method, using ballpoint pen on newsprint to draw indented outlines that she later fills in with wax crayons, working from memory or observing her subjects by touch.
In addition to making tactile drawings, Gossiaux often uses clay, papier-mâché, and paint on recycled fabric to depict intimate scenes. Her first solo exhibition, “After Image,” at the gallery False Flag in New York last year, addressed emotional bonds and erotic desire with a sweet sort of silliness. “The Valley of Magic” is scribbled on one drawing, which shows the butts of two people lying next to each other. Her painting on found fabric Looking Through the Leaves at Two People Making Out (2018)—featuring a naked, necking couple partially concealed by shrubbery—satirizes a widespread ocular fetish for seeing the forbidden.
Gossiaux’s female guide dog, a yellow Labrador Retriever named London, regularly figures in her work. Dancing with London (2018), recently shown at Julius Caesar gallery in Chicago in a group exhibition about mutual care between animals and humans, comprises two larger-than-life sculptures of her canine companion. The dog stands on her hind legs,…