This project is a large-scale solo exhibition of my recent paintings and explores the contemporary narrative uses of the language of paint. The work references Kristeva's proposal that language is the fold between the subject (as abstract being) and cultural construct. In my practice, paint is the language which gives scope for picturing the interface between psychological projection or identification and mass media representation.
The title of the exhibition ‘Emma Talbot in Translation’ and work included address a concern that is central to my research practice: that paint can be transformative and allows the painter to expressively translate the mass image into a personal reflection.
The paintings use a wide range of imagery culled from fashion, design and lifestyle magazines and archives (for example, images of the Isle of Wight festival) dating back to the 1950s. The imagery reveals methods of media messaging to reinforce group consciousness about events or social/political issues. As the imagery is mostly from magazines aimed at women, there is an investigation of representations of women and the changing visual language of cultural aspiration.
The representation of this type of media imagery within my painting is particular, in that the paintings do not mimic the photographic surface or illusion (e.g. Richter, Franz Gerscht), but borrow from photographic images and reinterpret them through readable thick materiality and tertiary colour to pull the image away from the immediate connection to glamour imagery and into a space of narrative invention.My inclusion of figuration is to be understood within a relationship to painters such as Neo Rauch, Rosa Loy, but based within a British perspective. My aim with the work is to develop narrative language in painting from this position.
The exhibition included 26 paintings, 15 of which had not been shown previously.