The Unbearable Flatness of Being

Solo Exhibition of the work of Sarah Emerson | Wilson, NC

The last time Sarah Emerson's 18 panel, 114' wide painting "The Unbearable Flatness of Being" was displayed was in 2018. Artsuite in partnership with and Wilson Arts brought the impressive work out of storage and to the state of NC for a solo exhibition and artist talk.

Originally created in 2015 for MOCA GA and their "Working Artist Project", the piece is being shown publicly for only the 3rd time and for the first time in this configuration. The complete painting is made up of eighteen 72"x76" panels that can be shown in one continuous landscape, individually, or a combination of both, like what you see here.


"We are pleased to collaborate with Artist A Day to bring Sarah Emerson's 'The Unbearable Flatness' of Being to North Carolina. This remarkable exhibition highlights the artist's ability to create landscapes that are both stunningly beautiful and disturbing. Sarah effectively conveys the ravages of war and climate change, as well as the hope and resiliency of the human spirit. This mammoth body of work has never been more relevant than today." — — Marjorie Hodges, Artsuite co-founder 


What does the Unbearable Flatness of Being mean to you?

"In this series of paintings I propose impossible scenes that blend actual events with the apocryphal narratives that supersede and help us collectively accept that reality. I use nature as my primary resource but I am reactive to the current events that shape our physical and psychological environment. It is amazing to me that a world so beautiful can also be so violent. Although, terror and tranquility never truly exist simultaneously in the physical, the two emotions certainly reside concurrently in our memories. As it is presented, painting can flatten time, space, and memory in pictures allowing room for a reconciliation of otherwise incompatible states of being. For me, this confluence of emotions is The Unbearable Flatness of Being.”

— Sarah Emerson, Artist 

What do you hope people take away from the work?

"I want the viewer to be surrounded by the landscape. Although this environment is from my imagination, the viewer brings their own experiences and memories to the work as well. I hope I’ve left room for my viewer to encounter the work first as a witness but leave knowing they are also part of this landscape of events.”

— Sarah Emerson, Artist

Where can I learn more about this work?

Sarah's artist talk from the opening of the exhibition was recorded and can be heard on the Wilson Arts and Beyond podcast by clicking here.

Sarah Emerson