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Emma Fineman

MA work

At Your Bedside

I have developed a body of work that address my interests in narrative and the scope of figurative painting to both extend and compress descriptive time. I have been experimenting with large works on multiple panels to invest this idea of looking and reading with presence and scale. For this reason, I render objects at a relational scale to how I would experience them in daily life. As well, I feel that if I am to make works about memory, it is important that I enact it as I work

I embrace painting's ability to flatten time into a still image and I seek to highlight this seemingly preposterous task by allowing my narration to layer and slip, depicting the dense compression of time in our contemporary culture. It seems that we are now unable to experience life one thing at a time. It never is, and perhaps never has been that way. I feel however, especially aware that at present, we are all inundated with such a degree of information that it makes thinking, feeling, and understanding clearly, practically impossible. My works become my space to contemplate and to reflect, my internal desires played out in a series of expressive and gestural marks that sit somewhere between drawing and painting. Somewhere between the quick note to jot down an idea, and a more prolonged meditation on the parts of daily life that for some unknowable reason affix themselves to back of ones mind and kick about with an unnerving permanence.

“At Your Bedside” is a work that I created with the intention of addressing notions of home, displacement, loss, and questions of perception. I moved from Oakland to London two years ago, and at the time that I was leaving for school, I received news that my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. In my time of living in London, this fear of time passing, and moments missed with him have haunted me. I have been contemplating what it means to make a home, and how it is possible that, through memory, those spaces can be stretched across continents. In this work I wanted to utilize repetition, and varying perspectives within the painting to describe a passing of time. In my view things always appear differently in memory, and it is impossible that any given moment may only be seen from just one perspective. The painting itself is comprised of three panels, and there are a number of images within the work that are repeated in groupings of three. Three beds, ground the base of the painting, whilst three windows form the central composition. Within these groupings I am able to emphasize a sort of rhythmic repetition, one that I feel is reminiscent of the way in which history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. There are many gaps within the painting, areas where elements don't quite align. As an example the way in which, at first glance, it is unclear if the center of the painting is viewed as inside of a room, or outside of a home looking through the window. Are we on the inside looking out or the outside looking in? I wish to encourage this line of questioning when viewing the work, and to persuade the viewer to consider the same line of questioning in their daily perceptions. 

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    MA Painting, 2018

  • In my work I embrace paintings ability to flatten time into a still image and I seek to highlight this seemingly preposterous task by allowing my narration to layer and slip, depicting the dense compression of time in our contemporary culture. It seems that we are now unable to experience life one thing at a time. It never is, and perhaps never has been that way. I feel however, especially aware that at present, we are all inundated with such a degree of information that it makes thinking, feeling, and understanding clearly, practically impossible. Images of an imagined junction with words like exit become my self-reflection. My internal desires played out in a series of expressive and gestural marks that sit somewhere between drawing and painting. Somewhere between the quick note to jot down an idea, and a more prolonged meditation on the parts of daily life that for some unknowable reason affix themselves to back of ones mind and kick about with an unnerving permanence.