Emily Leon is an Art Historian, Independent Scholar, Digital Humanist, Esotericist, & Drummer based in the American Southwest. Her work exists in the liminal space(s) between art history and religious studies. She specializes in modernism & the esoteric interests of late 19th and early 20th century Western artists, with a particular concentration on abstraction. Since 2017, her scholarship focuses on the social, spiritual, and theoretical implications of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint’s work. She is the founder of In the Eggshell, a five-part lecture series that seeks to redress modern art by turning to how the sciences, religious beliefs, and occult traditions provide a better articulation of modern art. Her literary debut Triadic Intimacy & the Sound of Secrets (2023) is forthcoming on Inside the Castle Press. She is a Digital Humanist at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, where her work focuses on data visualization and data storytelling of the Museum’s collection. An essay and collections data visualizations will be published to Stories from the O’Keeffe late this summer. She holds an MA in Digital Art History from Duke University and a BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Research profile: intellectual and social histories, critical historiography, museum and canon studies, symbology
Presentations, Conferences, & Podcasts
Panel discussion w/ Dr. Amy Hale on the concept of “abstraction” in art, and esotericism as a resource for rethinking our approaches to art history for Ted Hand’s Esoteric Beat Podcast. June 2021. Forthcoming.
“Between the Physical & Psychical: Esoteric Representation of Nature in the Work of Hilma af Klint,” Thought Forms Lecture Series, Sacred Bones Instagram Live [@sacredbones], November 19, 2020, 7pm EST.
“Spiritual Flora: Abstraction, Spiritualism, and Botany in Séance Drawings,” Esotericism and the Scientific Imagination, Association for the Study of Esotericism Biannual Conference, Davis, CA, May 14-17, 2020. CANCELLED due to COVID-19.
“Analyzing the Crisis of Hilma af Klint: The Digital and Analog Analysis of Spirituality, Abstraction, and Art,” Digital Archaeology Group, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, NL, Canada, March 1, 2019.
Triadic Intimacy & the Sound of Secrets. Kansas: Inside the Castle, 2023.
Hilma af Klint: Notes and Methods, ed. Christine Burgin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018. In Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA Reviews), January 7, 2019. https://www.arlisna.org/publications/reviews/1617-hilma-af-klint-notes-and-methods.
Exhibition Catalogue Essays
“Considerations on Michaela Davies.” In Engineering the Future: As part of V&A Digital Design Weekend 2016, Irini Papadimitriou, Andrew Prescott, Jon Rogers, eds. United Kingdom: Uniform Communications Ltd., 2016.
ProQuest: “Analyzing the Crisis of Hilma Af Klint: The Digital and Analog Analysis of Spirituality, Abstraction, and Art.” Order No. 10976180, Duke University, 2018. https://login.proxy.lib.duke.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.duke.edu/docview/2169923267?accountid=10598.
Polyorchard, 2021. Forthcoming.
Podcast: Emily Leon, “A Readiness to Multiply”, Cartopodes, Ep. 3, “Hatching”, forthcoming.
Podcast: Emily Leon, “Walking”, on Cartopodes, Ep. 2, “Islands”, 2021.