Emily Klima is a New York City–based visual artist. She started her studies in fine art at Boston University as a painting major and completed her studies there with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. Her love of that field—most especially typography—led Ms. Klima to have a full design career at several of New York’s top fashion magazines, including GQ and Harper’s BAZAAR, before she established a successful independent design business.

Several years ago, Ms. Klima rediscovered her love of painting. During this time she noted a strong need to defy what she had been taught about art making. From that shift in perspective Ms. Klima explores painting’s inherently raw power.

Ms. Klima’s art is alive with its particular flurry of color and energy, created with drips and splatters. Ms. Klima exploits her formal training in drawing, painting, and design yet breaks free of its strictures. Layered bursts of brilliant acrylic color hold collage elements—mixed media such as typography and free-associative writing, and other media, such as resin and tape. Ms. Klima has given fresh vigor to her love of painting by applying oil sticks, which give her dynamic and layered paintings a velvety finish.

Ms. Klima uses the guiding forces of structure and symmetry to manage the tension of positive and negative space contained in the frame. And she is always careful to incorporate a visual resting-place for the eye. Her engagement of formal aesthetic principles balance the dualities she embraces: order and chaos/discipline and freedom. “Composition is my first love,” says Ms. Klima, “and every painting contains within it my process of moving from control to letting go of control, and back again.”