Emma Tapley, Time Thinking / Inversion, 2012, oil on panel, 40×60”
In these latest paintings Tapley further develops her individual examination of what is actually entailed in so-called pictorial representation through the contrasts of transparency and material reflection and untraditional points of view. Tapley has long had a painter’s fascination with water, but in her case it is not one of churning seas such as with Winslow Homer or water-views with man-made structures beside them as with Gerhard Richter, but of stillness, of water as mirror, of water pooled in small, seemingly forgotten corners of a lake, a pond or an old, slow-moving river. It is the world, natural and not man-made, above or around these reflective surfaces, that has captured her eye. The viewer is seeing, by means of the water’s surface, only a reflection of the “reality” that it is representing. In this way, Tapley’s paintings subtly “comment” on a reality the viewer can only surmise, while at the same time being simply what they are: a reflection of a reflection done in oil on panel. Painterly, austere without being aloofly photographic, suggestive and sometimes even moody, yet asserting no ironic or complacent judgment in them, these new paintings by Tapley reveal a remarkable concentration on detailed observations of nature reworked and, through the artist’s sensibility, transformed.