• Emma Carney

Process

Hi there! In this post, I’m going to write about what goes on in my studio. To preface; in the studio, I seek out the accumulative shapes, surfaces, and resonances that pervade my day-to-day. I infuse the bodily with a sense that the geographies of contemporary life are collectively enmeshed in affective states. I look for the emotional territories in my lived practices, and seek buoyancy, playfulness, and porousness.



My decisions are made through impulse; my paintings turn on a never-ending series of encounters and subsequent reactions, improvisations, and contradictions. I find myself removing paint as often as I put it on. Through this process, the edges of my canvases become stained by all the layers of paint that have been removed. It's a conscious choice not to tape the edges of my paintings, I know many painters do this to keep them clean. Nothing about my process is tidy, and I think the edges offer a glimpse into the provisional, messy process that occurs in my studio.



Provisionality is a key word in my process. Paintings can be changed even after they’ve been untouched for a year. Usually, it’s safest to deem a painting “done” if I still like it two years later. I credit Jan Verwoert’s essay “Softedge is Hardcore” for my understanding of provisionality. This has been a prominent text for me as an artist. Verwoert insists that the act of painting must have a softness that can respond to “​(...) the touch of something real, when the real won’t work​”. This helped me let go in my practice, to encourage a sense of play, to soften and to allow the life-lived to permeate my canvases, without attempting to illustrate it. The element of play in the studio softens the membrane of painting and lets the outside in, so that I am able to paint with blatant inclusion of my lived-experiences.


At the end of the day, the studio offers a space for me to indulge in my complex and paradoxical terrain; there I ad-lib and abandon without consequence; I undergo the processes of becoming lost and then found, only to become lost again.