Emma Fineman Interview - The Hopper Prize

Emma Fineman

Emma Fineman discusses making work that addresses the notion of falsehood as it relates to contemporary events, the state of culture today, finding common ground & adapting a studio practice to contrasting environments.

How did you get into making art?

I’ve been making art as long as I can remember. I’m very lucky to have a mother who is also a painter, as was her father and my fathers mother. Growing up in this environment has very much inspired and informed my relationship to art/ art making.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a proposal for a public sculpture. The work will be a life sized calf, inspired by Poussin’s “Adoration of The Golden Calf.” I am currently interested in making work that address the notion of falsehood as it relates to contemporary events and how people shape their beliefs.

I am currently interested in making work that address the notion of falsehood as it relates to contemporary events and how people shape their beliefs.

Emma Fineman

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I’ve been inspired by the state of culture today. I feel very strongly that at present finding common ground across society is becoming increasingly difficult. Specially in the wake of the previous administration and the spread of the notion of “fake news.” Although, it is also important to acknowledge that perhaps it has always been this way and perhaps now we are doing the work to unearth the termites in the wood. Living both in the US where I am from and the Uk where I moved to in 2016 has meant understanding the parallels across both societies as well as the differences.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I would say I’ve been doing both over the past few years. Sometimes I get very stuck on an idea, especially when working on a solo exhibition where I can allow the works to converse with each other in ways that they may not be able to when seen in other contexts. I have however continued to address overarching themes about perspective, souls, energy, and planes of reality.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I hate alarms so I try to avoid them wherever possible. When I’m in California I wake up with the sun and that can be quite early so my day can start by 9:30 and end by 5:30, but in the Uk my whole schedule is late. I get to the studio between 12 and 2pm and stay till 12-1am. I enjoy the quiet of working at night. Each day can present deferent challenges. Sometimes it’s stretching canvases, sometimes writing proposals or responding to emails until I’ve lost all interest in making. Lately I’ve been working on a series of bronzes which has meant learning mold making and wax work and that has been a definite challenge.

Who are your favorite artists?

SO MANY! Lately I’ve been really enjoying looking at Bob Thompson’s work, Aidan Koch’s illustrations and brilliant flash, Simone Leigh’s magnificent sculptures, Valentine Schlegel’s interiors. Amrita Sher-Gil is also brilliant.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

London has an amazing contemporary art scene with openings happening all the time which are fantastic for seeing new work. Instagram showcases so many new things all the time, but I find it a real challenge when everything is virtual and it becomes impossible to really sit with the work and see every little mark, and it’s physicality.

Emma Fineman is an artist based in London and San Francisco who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist:

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