Emma Raine Maasch

Born and Raised in Maine


artist statement

I am striving to develop my own visual language to represent memory and narrative. Drawing is a generative exercise in exploring how the interplay between three dimensional form, two dimensional imagery, and 2.5 dimensional optical illusions can convey the complex emotions memories contain.

In my studio practice I use hand building techniques and throw on the wheel using a high fire stoneware clay, with a focus on making cups and mugs. The act of taking a moment of pause to drink tea or coffee is the most routine act of self-soothing I maintain, and upon realizing this I have become fixated on investigating the relationship between the act of self reflection and the act of drinking from a cup. I had an ah-ha moment about the significance of intimate one on one conversation on one particularly difficult winter day several years ago. Sitting with my friend drinking coffee, I paused while taking a sip to notice the interior space of the mug I was drinking from. The interior space was my own private space to pause in when I wanted to collect myself between thoughts. I realized that as I paused, my friend was looking right at the bottom of the mug. The inside of the mug was private, and the bottom of the mug had the potential to be transformed into a social surface for my friend to engage with while I took my moments of pause. Suddenly the ergonomics of the cup became an ergonomics of intimacy for me. Exploring how differences in color, form, and texture impact the trajectory and tone of conversation and the efficacy of constructive self-reflection has become my artistic aspiration.

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Emma Raine Maasch attended Bennington College, where she studied Political Economy, Gender Studies, and Ceramics. 

 She is invested in applying her queer and intersectional approach and knowledge to future projects. 

Emma Raine was one of four Bennington students who took part in a think tank with nine peers from Arizona State University and ten delegates from the Los Angeles-based Center for Cultural Innovation in the winter of 2017. The goal of the six-week program, conceived by Bennington College, ASU, and CCI and supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, was to draw upon art and design thinking to radically reimagine the future of arts and culture in America.



ZAFTIG - a full-figured, shapely, curvy, curvaceous, voluptuous woman. From the Yiddish zaftik, which means "juicy" or "succulent" and which in turn derives from zaft, meaning "juice" or "sap."


YENTE - a vulgar, sentimental woman. Yiddish.


I was raised in a reformed Jewish household, and I am in awe of how complex and contextually dependent Yiddish words can be, especially when used in "Yinglish" communities. Both 'zaftig' and 'yente' are words that historically contain numerous and seemingly disparate meanings, both complimentary and derogatory. Intention determines the meaning - the speaker's cultural perspectives on femme bodies and femme expression are revealed based on how the terms are deployed. I relate this to my work in a number of ways. The terms contain the potential to be demeaning or uplifting depending on the context, and this parallels my experience with simultaneously holding internalized shame and having a strong desire for reclamation and redefinition of beauty. when I draw, I participate in an ongoing public negotiation how attractiveness, repulsiveness, pleasure and suffering in the body is represented.