Emma Fineman’s Fractured Landscapes

Views, 2019 by Emma Fineman

Employing cubist techniques, Emma Fineman’s canvases typically present fractured landscapes that are wrought with psychological tension. Referencing multiple narratives, the paintings are often caught in a space and time limbo. Fineman discusses the influence of cubism on her work, explaining, ‘I utilise various vantage points in the same image, to allow for a similar description of a narrative to exist.’

Views (2019) depicts a single face floating in an abstract landscape. The lone figure is painted solely in red, with grey smudges vaguely marking out the eyes, nose and mouth. The minimal detail and lack of expression on the face, along with Fineman’s use of predominantly dark colours, casts an eerie atmosphere over the canvas. The combination of colours and intentional shapes appear to form a map in which the figure floats, seemingly between different dimensions. A grey hood roughly alludes to the body of the figure, yet quickly dissolves into another abstract shape. The work’s title is the only element which ties it to some physical space, framing the work as a landscape. Green geometric shapes mirror fields seen from above, while the stretch of pink across the top of the canvas suggests a rosey sky. Each section of the canvas brings with it its own suggestion of place, together forming a collage of time and space. Fineman has explained, of her work, ‘I examine the possibilities of figurative painting to both extend and compress descriptive time. I seek to highlight this task by allowing my narration to layer and slip, depicting the dense compression of time in contemporary culture. I am particularly interested in the tempo and speed of our present moment and the effects this enacts on memory and perspective.’ Using a range of colour, shape and mark making, the composition of Fineman’s Views forces together conflicting perspectives.

The artist’s interest in the ‘visual overloads’ of the digital world is apparent in Views. Fineman discusses the influence social media has on her work, arguing the canvas presents a comparable space where ‘paradoxical worlds can collide’. The artist discusses working from different vantage points of the same image, ‘its the same thing when you try and reconstruct a dream. At first everything is so clear, and slowly as we try to recount them, everything dissolves into moments that make little sense when butted up against each other. It is the transitions that have been removed.’ Fineman’s works are saturated, simultaneously jarring and stimulating, fighting a single interpretation as they unravel further into a limbo-land of memory and dreams.

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