HSC Visual Art Resources

A resource site for visual art teachers and secondary students completing their HSC in the Visual Arts


Emma White
Scale exercise (1:1 and 1:10) 2009
polymer clay, dimensions variable

Emma White
Study for a pin 2009
polymer clay, 21 x 16 x 2.5 cm

Emma White, Australian artist, born 1976 Canberra.

Emma White works with everyday objects, duplicating their forms out of polymer clay, displaying these works as sculptures amd installations, along side photographic images of the artworks. These hand made forms explore differernt ratios and sizes, playing with scale, exploring how this in turn re-interprets the object , its use and the ways in which we respond to this new representation. These replica artworks imitate their original to perfection on an aesthetic level, but are no longer able to function in the same manner as the original object. Stamps cannot leave ink marks on paper, push pins can no longer pin paper products to boards and pencil shavings do not crumble between our fingers. Reproduction is a strong theme in White’s practice. Sculptured duplicates of objects are also photographed and both the sculptural form and the photographed are exhibited as individual artworks.

White’s artworks often consist of stationary suppplies (paperclips, paper, push pins, staples ect…) working with notions of cultural productivity and consumerism, through the manipulation of every day mass produced office supplies and the activities associated with them, such as sorting, collecting and documenting.Copy and reproduction are central to the artists’ works and are reflected through the types of objects and office supplies that are chosen to be remodeled.

I am more interested in focusing on really specific things like particular marks or accidental arrangements that tell a story of how we spend our time. I’m drawn to the power of representation to transform things from one thing to another

-Emma White

There’s always a level of irony in my work. Art isn’t necessary for survival; in that sense it’s not a very ‘real’ thing. You have to suspend your disbelief and be willing to enter a kind of speculative or philosophical space; and it’s easy to fall out of and wonder what the hell you were doing there. But when you’re in, in deep, in the making and the thinking, it’s so real. Every detail seems significant, and every action feels like a journey; but only on the level of metaphor.

-Emma White

Emma White
Delaying tactics for the intuitive researcher (installation detail) 2007
polymer clay (Fimo), clock workings, battery, veneered shelf
dimensions variable

Emma White
Artefact 2010
polymer clay



  • Emma White is a Sydney-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice explores ideas around materiality, representation and form.
  • interested in copy and reproductions


  • everyday objects and office supplies sculptured out of polymer clay
  • photographs of the sculptured artworks represented as artworks themselves


  • accessed through public and commercial galleries by a wide range of viewers
  • audience respond to the exact likeness of the objects and the realisation that they are re-represented items, rather than the original objects themselves.


  • reinterprets office supply equipment and other similar objects
  • interested in classifications, documenting, sorting and organisation within office spaces and the time wasted going through these common routines

Emma White
Scrabble 2009
polymer clay, 100 tablets, 4 tablet holders, 1 board



  • seduces the viewer into thinking it could be an original, yet the scale may be slight off to give it away as a replica
  • fascination over the exact likeness of the artworks to their original objects
  • reminds the viewer of the object and its uses, memory and historical artifact


  • exact replicas of objects and everyday items in regards to form and aesthetic design
  • change of scale, smaller or larger, than the original object
  • use of polymer clay
  • explores stationary and everyday objects, particularly these associated with work and office supplies


  • explores western office equipment that is mass produced, working class materials
  • redefines objects intended for work productivity as time wasting based routines
  • Similar patterns of reproduction of everyday objects through other materials with other artists such as Thomas Demand and Jacky Redgate


  • uses everyday craft shop bought polymer clay
  • unusual materials used for sculptural form
  • appropriates office stationary equipment and supplies
  • explores irony, playfulness and humour through the representation of the new object according to scale and rendering the object unable to perform its intended duties
  • challenges ideas of productivity in the work place through the representation of office equipment that can no longer perform their duties.

Emma White
Copy and Study (copy) 2009
polymer clay, photograph, 40 x 40 cm

Emma White
Study (pin) 2009
C-type photograph
91.23 x 76.2 cm


  • Master of Visual Art and Bachelor of Visual Art.
  • worked in photography before moving into sculptural forms
  • explores everyday objects, particularly office supplies, through scale and function, how we then re-interpret an object taken out of its original use

I have a fairly studio-based and somewhat conceptual practice; I  tend to make mostly small sculptural works, photographs and the odd  video or performance/interactive work that relates to those objects. My  practice is a bit inward looking. I often make works that are to do with  the tools of creative production, yet also consider the relationship of  photography to material reality and play with the problems of  representation itself. It’s a bit circular. My work is more or less  process-driven; one work usually leads into another.

-Emma White

Emma White
Mixing sticks 2011
polymer clay, dimensions variable (1:1 scale of paddle pop sticks)





Emma White
Pin and construction of a maquette for a pin 2009
polymer clay, c-type photographs
dimensions variable


This entry was posted on 19/06/2012 by in All, Australian, Documented Forms, Installation, Photography, Sculpture.