V.O Curations is pleased to announce 'The Faces of Love' the end of residency solo show of artist Emma Prempeh, from 13 October until 14 November 2020.
British visual artist Emma Prempeh, of Ghanaian and Vincentian heritage, (b. 1996, London) is a graduate of Fine Arts from Goldsmiths University. Prempeh’s debut solo show The Faces of Love is the culmination of a 2-month residency at V.O Curations. Shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2019 and winner of the Ingram Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize, Prempeh is currently attending an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art.
The Faces of Love encompasses the variegated understanding of the concept of ‘love’ through the lens of the artist’s phases of life. Prempeh unravels sentiments of loneliness, excitement, death and melancholy, and sifts through emotions and experiences entangled within familial and romantic relationships. Family and generational continuity is often the subject of Prempeh’s paintings, as relational ties are explored and questioned, through the depiction of her relatives and their experiences.
Prempeh’s work abounds with dark, earthy tones on the canvas, carving out a space for the figures to rest, unidentifiable, in a temporal and spatial hole. Physical limitations are not present, no walls or lines to define the area and the figures are free to roam the space they inhabit. Prempeh plays upon the notion of distant memories, creating ubiquitous spaces that evoke a feeling of longing and safety. Faces and figures are slightly delineated, playing into the mystification of memory and the effects of a questioned reality.
In Bereaved, the scene depicts the intergenerational relationship between family members of a close friend of Prempeh’s, mirroring the passage of time, reflected also in the clock behind the figures. The subjects exude an aura of protection through their gaze: the grandmother observes the spectator with a placid stance, while the mother tenderly contemplates the child. Objects scattered throughout the scenes are rare, as their mere statis represents a temporal anchor, in stark contrast to the figures. They are presented as vague, hazy, a reflection of an element that was alive, at some temporal and spatial point in time. The imitation gold leaf on the canvas surface of the majority of Prempeh’s work signifies the ineluctable passing of time and preciosity of memories. Over time, the material deteriorates, gold leaf crumbles and changes colour, losing any semblance of exquisite wealth, becoming dust that settles on the canvas and darkens, a quaint and distant aura, a memory you can’t quite recall.
Prempeh’s work also includes the use of fabric as a way to transfer the surface onto a more physical, three-dimensional state. Windows of Emotion exemplifies Prempeh’s use of fabric and words in the context of self-identification and definition, as the artist portrays herself surrounded by books, and a white fabric covered in entries from her personal diary. The fabric, such as the white sheets, creates a physical space and room to interact with the canvas. Taken from her diary or other materials, printed words enhance the image’s emotional charge and create a relation to Prempeh’s worldly existence.