Emily Leon is an Art Historian, Independent Scholar, Digital Humanist, & Drummer based in western Massachusetts. She is the Digital Projects & Metadata Specialist at the Visual Resources Center in Williams College Art Department and Digital Humanist with The Posen Library. 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. She is a member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), the Digital Art History Society (DAHS), and the Visual Resources Association (VRA).
As an art historian, her research interests are modernism and 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. From 2017-2021, her scholarship focused 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.
Research profile: intellectual and social histories, critical historiography and methodology, museum and canon studies, symbology, digital humanities
Presentations, Conferences, & Podcasts
Presenter, Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) conference on “Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic,” February 2023.
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.
Journals & Book Essays
“All the Things Perceptible Within & Between: The Fifth Ear & New Styles of Contact.” In “A Row of Trees.” England: Sonic Art Research Unit. December 2022.
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.