Emily Leon is an Art Historian, Independent Scholar, Digital Humanist, Esotericist, & Drummer based in the American Southwest. She is the Curatorial Research Associate at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and a Digital Humanities & Indexing Fellow with The Posen Library. As an art historian, she specializes in modernism & the esoteric interests of late 19th and early 20th century Western artists, with a particular concentration on abstraction, and the links between art, science, and religion. 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 the transdisciplinary Working Group 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 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
Presenter, “Building Bridges: Towards an Interdisciplinary Methodology for the Art Historical Study of Anomalous Experience, Spirit Art, and Hilma af Klint,” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) conference on “Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic,” February 23-26, 2022.
Presenter, “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.
Presenter, “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.
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.
“Analyzing the Crisis of Hilma Af Klint: The Digital and Analog Analysis of Spirituality, Abstraction, and Art.” Order No. 10976180, Duke University, 2018.
Lee Weisert, Recesses. 2022. Liner Notes.
Polyorchard. An Excess of Primary Forms. Laurent Estoppey and David Menestres. 2021. Liner Notes.
Podcast: “A Readiness to Multiply”, Cartopodes, Ep. 3, “Hatching”, June 2021.
Podcast: “Walking”, on Cartopodes, Ep. 2, “Islands”, 2021.