Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Ghost Horse, 2016 by Emily A. Gibson

Emily A. Gibson created this artwork for an event in collaboration with Marie Lorenz's Flow Pool at Recess. See pictures and read more about it here.

OBJECT: Horse Bones

BODY OF WATER: Dead Horse Bay

Photographs by Nate Dorr, Dan Selzer and Emily Gibson

I make portraits of phantoms to explore the connections between history, memory, and perception. My choice of materials is often intended to draw attention to the unstable nature of these entities.  The unwieldy form of the ghost horse is made out of adhesive and other transparent material. It references the horse refineries that were once prevalent in Dead Horse Bay.  The creatures inevitable transformation as it is submerged in water and mingled with other objects is similar to the unpredictable ways we recall the past.  Some aspects coalesce while others disappear altogether.

Emily A. Gibson has exhibited her work in New York, Boston, and Provincetown, and has received grants from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, and the Leopold Schepp Foundation. Gibson holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and a Master's in Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. As a graduate student, she received a scholarship to travel and to study art in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.