© Sophie Germer
Self-taught artist Emilie Rhys was born in New York City, NY, grew up on the West Coast, and has lived in New Orleans since 2012. Daughter of artist Noel Rockmore, she developed as an artist independent of him due to no contact. After they reunited in 1976, they remained close until his death in 1995. Her art career spans over 45 years, covering a variety of subjects, with a focus on music since 2011. She opened her French Quarter art gallery Scene By Rhys Fine Art in 2016.
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New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys
This richly illustrated volume documents in detail the exhibition New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys at the New Orleans Jazz Museum from January 30, 2020 to September 1, 2021, curated by the museum's own David Kunian and expanded upon in this book by Emilie Rhys (wearing several hats as contributing artist, contributing writer, co-editor, photo editor, layout designer, and publisher).
Noel Rockmore, well-known in New Orleans for his mid-1960s oil portraits of Preservation Hall musicians, and his daughter Emilie Rhys, whose artwork of contemporary musicians all around town has gained her recent public notice, are brought together for their first joint exhibition in which a selection of their drawings and paintings is paired with a wide variety of artifacts and historic instruments, culled mostly from the Jazz Museum's incomparable archives.
As the curator of this profusely illustrated book, Emilie Rhys not only provides a visual record of the exhibition, she expands upon it through the presentation of significant new material by several Louisiana natives who are close observers of the vibrant cultural life that makes New Orleans a veritable global magnet. They are novelist, journalist, and art collector John Ed Bradley; print and public radio journalist Gwen Thompkins; and scientist and art collector Myles Robichaux.
For the lead chapter in this book, Bradley has written the first ever literary exploration of the intertwined lives of Rockmore and Rhys, "Picture in a Picture: Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys in New Orleans." In Chapter 3, Robichaux's original essay speaks to the profound impact on him of discovering Rockmore's art in 2002 and meeting Rhys in 2011. For Chapter 4, "Depiction/Being Depicted," Thompkins conducted interviews in 2020 with 14 musicians exploring their interest in visual art, their thoughts about the development of their own image, and how they feel about their image appearing in drawings, paintings, and photographs by visual artists.
The book has 368 illustrations including 302 in full color, a large number of which have never been seen in public previously and have been selected by Rhys, many from her extensive personal archives.
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