Emily Rutledge was born in Tennessee. She moved to Chicago in 2007 and has been creating and exhibiting her work ever since. Up until 2015, her mixed media painting included encaustic. This body of work was inspired by urban marks and the haphazard visual fabric of the city. Her gritty work used the encaustic medium in a nonconventional way and included an array of materials including graphite, image transfer and spray paint.

In 2015 Rutledge experienced a stroke. Her current body of acrylic work is inspired by this stroke which left her with severe weakness in her arm, hands, and leg. Unable to paint with her right hand, she began painting brushless with her left hand. Even though the materials and subject matters differ, Rutledge finds it inspiring that the new work bears a similarity of mark making with her earlier work.

Rutledge’s work has been exhibited nationally and in included in national and international collections. Her acrylic work has been acquired for permanent collection at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.