The artwork titled "Embedded Memories" was created in 2013 by Edna Kurtz Emmet. The image is a frayed piece of yellowish paper, and in the center is the drawn profile of an old, wrinkled white woman with wispy hair and a prominent chin. She is turned toward the sky, eyes closed and mouth slightly open. Below her profile is the drawing of a gnarled olive tree. Faded handwritten text frames the profile and the tree. At the bottom of the paper the text reads, "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long time in the land." The artwork is a solar print and encaustic on paper, 17 inches by 22 inches.

“Embedded Memories,” Edna Kurtz Emmet, 2013, solar print, encaustic, 17″ x 22″

There is certainly no question as to the specific subject in turning to two works that are part of a larger series focused on memory and the passage of time, by Edna Kurtz Emmet, from Baltimore, MD. “Embedded Memories” is a solar print and encaustic on paper, based on the image of the artist’s mother’s face just before her death. If the subject is clear, nonetheless, the image confronts the viewer with the question: what exactly are the memories embedded here?—even if we know who is portrayed. Her memories are hidden in a mind blocking our ability to penetrate it. There is also a reminder about other human limitations, as Emmet’s mother’s profile is paired with a detail from a gnarled and complex olive tree—a two-thousand-year-old tree, still growing, and thus underscoring the brevity of human life and how young relative to such members of creation we are at our oldest.

The image connects us at the same time to specifics of the Jewish and Christian narrative. For the tree shown in the image comes from the Garden of Gethsemane: It would have been very young when the Hebrew-Israelite-Judaean tree was beginning to bifurcate into Judaeans for Jesus and Judaeans not for Jesus branches—when, by Christian tradition, Jesus was spending his last night on earth as a human Judaean in that very garden. The two images are sandwiched between texts—Hebrew above and English below—enjoining one to honor one’s parents and thus “to live a long time in the land.”

Edna Kurtz Emmet was born in Poland and grew up in Israel. Ms. Emmet received a BA in Art and Design from the Hornsey College of Art in London. For the next several years she traveled extensively, living in Japan and Greece. Subsequently, Ms. Emmet studied Waldorf art education principles at the Tobias School of Art in Sussex, England and explored the dynamic qualities of colors with the painter Beppe Assenza in Dornach Switzerland. Ms. Emmet resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She teaches painting to adults and children. She exhibits her work in the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, India and Israel, and her paintings can be found in numerous private collections. To learn more about Ms. Emmet, visit her website and follow her on Instagram @1ekemmet