Tender Softness in the Ordinary

Emily Krueckl

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Gracing the cover of issue 2.1, Emily Kreuckl’s paintings distort and exaggerate the sights around us. You will find that in the Young Women series, each portrait offers a uniquely rendered character, in all their personhood and ordinariness.

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Yolk began as an electric conversation around a picnic table in Saint Henri Square.

Our scruffy pioneer and present prose editor had previously approached each of us with an idea, a vision: We would establish our own literary magazine in Montreal. And so it was, or so it would be. After that original encounter, eight individuals devoted to the word resolved that they would gather bi-weekly, on Sundays, and bring something new into this busy, manic world—something that might slow its spin down somewhat and cause its patronage to say: “You know what, it ain’t so bad, is it, Susan?”

We are undergraduate, graduate, and graduated students of writing. Some of us learn our craft formally from accomplished authors in seminar courses, and some of us learn by looking out the window of the world and onto the streets that sing below. Some of us learn from screaming squirrels, old curtains, departed grandfathers, and bowel movements. We learn from old lovers, long winters, imperfect mothers, and from the deep internet where a musical genius remains entombed.

Yolk is cold floors on Sabbath mornings, home-brewed ginger beer in the endless afternoon, and downpours of French-pressed coffee in assorted artisanal mugs. Our first official gathering was scheduled for a duration of two hours; most of us remained for six, departing only to attend to the summons of our own beckoning realities. Together, with time suspended, we talked endlessly of contributing something to disrupt Montreal’s literary ecosystem. Something unparalleled, something true.

But what? There was nothing to discuss. There was everything to discuss.

We volunteer our time, hounding some elusive beast composed of combustible words and works. We are hopeful, truly hopeful, that we can give something new, a new way, a new light, and that if we cannot, we might at least uphold the traditions of our predecessors, cast star-wide nets to capture their echoes. We are a thousand decisions. We are a sanctuary for the orphaned word, the solitary writer, the cereal-eating artist who yearns for company, for the comfort of a like mind; we sit together with them at foggy dawn, it rains a baptism, with our arms and hands intertwined, we form an umbrella—underneath, they scribble madly, the perfect picture.

Yolk in no way presumes to be superior to its contemporaries, but its contemporaries should not presume yolk to be anything other than loud—quite, quite loud. We are yippidy jazzed to address the oh-so-technicolorful magnificence of the human experience, but we are prepared also to address the ugliness, to stare at its wet, hairy snout and into its square depth and to roar in return at the things that yearn to devour our skin, beset our ethos, and dig graves in our own backyards.

There’s so much to say, there’s so much we don’t know, but together, with you, we can placate that ignorance, render it peaceful, tolerable, and perhaps even, fucking beautiful.

And Susan says, “Amen.”

Emily Krueckl is an Expressionist artist. She works primarily with oil paint but does not limit herself to one medium. Krueckl’s practice is based around her lived experiences and the dynamics of relationships to both people and space. Krueckl explores themes revolving around identity and the function of living. Many of her works reflect her experience with mental health, gender roles, and sexuality. Abstraction often makes appearances in Krueckl’s works as she distorts the imagery of her own reality. Through distortion she explores normalcy while providing a critique on beauty for beauty's sake and embracing the tender softness in the ordinary ugliness of everyday life.

Serena from the “Young Women” series, 2022. Oil on wood panel, 30x40”
Elyse from the “Young Women” series, 2022. Oil on wood panel, 30x40”
Blaire from the “Young Women” series, 2022. Oil on wood panel, 30x40”
Self Portrait, 2021. Oil on canvas, 9x12”
Medicine Cabinet, 2021. Oil on wood panel, 12x16”
Come Here, Baby, 2020. Oil on canvas, 16x16”
Safe Walks, 2022, Oil on canvas, 16x20”
Shower Thoughts, 2021. Acrylic on wood panel, 10x10”

Emily Krueckl was born and raised in the Canadian Prairies, growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Krueckl lived in the Prairies until she attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, British Columbia to studyInterior Design in 2015. Krueckl studied at KPU for three years before relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete her BFA in Painting At NSCAD in 2021. Krueckl now balances freelance art tutoring, online youth art content creation and working full time as the Silver Jewelry manager at a locally owned retail store while continuing her art practice in her at-home studio. Her work can be found on Instagram (@lithi.em.art), or on her website, www.emilykrueckl.com.

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