Emmi Whitehorse’s abstract mixed-media work The Ruling Hand is an early work in the artist’s career, dating to 1988. The artist recalls this time in her career as “a period when I was casting about for ideas and coming up with nothing. A very hard and helpless place to find yourself as an artist.” The work is expressive, all at once vibrantly colored and muted, abstracted and also figural, creating a great deal of movement. “It was about being in a position of having no voice,” said Whitehorse. “As a very young artist just starting out and being the youngest at home, I was always treated like I needed help with everything!” Tired of being marginalized or reduced to always needing assistance, the artist chose to create a work that depicted those frustrations and created a space of her own. “People tend to assume authority over you, thinking they’re looking out for your best interest. You get pushed along or onto a path that isn’t your goal or beliefs.” For Whitehorse, this work showed the “murky and surrealistic” quality of dreams and centers herself as an agent of her own narrative.