MUNTHE ART MONDAY: EMMA PREMPEH
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
I’m a British artist with Vincentian and Ghanaian heritage. The tonal properties of my paintings enjoy warm, darkened earthly tones with a strong presence of blackness to invoke and project memories of events, people, and places that emphasise my appreciation of ancestral time and relationships, selfhood and transformation. I occasionally experiment with projected still and moving imagery to create painting installations that invite other experiential and performative encounters with my work. Embedded within my canvasses are hints of schlag metal, a brass alloy of copper and zinc imitative of gold leaf, representative of my exploration into the transitional journey between life and death. Over time, the material deteriorates, suggestive of the ineluctable passing of time.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
Dealing with selfhood and transformation my practice will always be in the perspective of my gaze, embroiled with my identity and womanhood naturally. I feel urged to portray the lives of the women who have raised and shaped me into who I am today as a continuation of the exploration of self. I love that this is often noticed by those who view my work, often lacking masculine entities other than close family and lovers.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
Lynette Yaidom Boakye and Jennifer Packer. I am very inspired by Lynette Yaidom Boakye, I admit she is my favorite. She was the first successful black female painter I was introduced to, and her paintings are breathtaking. From the almost metaphysical space her figures reside in, to the freedom she gives to the lines and marks she makes. She really gave me an insight into where I could go, I’m honestly obsessed. When I look at the work of Jennifer Packer, I dissolve into her canvases, she eloquently involves her figures into the space around them perfectly. Her technique is something I reference often, and I have always admired her work.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
Keeping my emotions at bay. I lead with my heart and sometimes I tend to assume that everyone has the best intentions. The most challenging part is accepting that the artworld can be cruel. I’ve found solace in the other artists around me and most of them are women. Finding a community where you can ask questions and have support is important.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
How we exist within spaces of intangible realities, our spiritual, supernatural, transcendental and metaphysical existence.