First of all, it's pronounced "sapphire."
BP: What will you be working on during your stay at Bunker?
I’ll be working on several projects while at Bunker. The two projects that I’ll be pursuing primarily are a series of panel paintings using flashe paint, and a series of relief sculptures involving digitally printed silk and batting. I’m interested in windows, reflections, and simulated spaces. While in Pittsburgh I plan to take a lot of photographs - I work from my photography, so I’m always trying to accumulate more imagery (never enough).
What has drawn you to printmaking as a medium?
Printmaking is a medium that I’ve been drawn to since I was a teenager - I loved the process of silk screening from the moment I tried it. I did this weird summer program run by Seth Cameron of Bruce High Quality that was all kids who’d been rejected from the Cooper Union summer program. On the last day, we silk screened some t-shirts, and I was completely hooked.
Aside from my initial magnetism towards the process, as it lies now, what I love about printmaking (specifically silk screen) is the ease with which I can achieve flat transparent color, essentially void of texture. In the past few months I’ve been applying flashe paint with a squeegee, which can simulate the flatness that silk screen lets me achieve, but at a much faster rate, and creating a singular image.
You have concentrated on windows, reflections, and views in your work, taking photographs and turning them into brightly-colored screen prints. With the transformation of the gallery space into a wall that contains these “windows” you give the viewer an imperfect impression of standing in your place, taking in a reflection of the view you might see out the original window. Can you talk about how you use/think about photography when you’re making your work?
I primarily use photography as a means to an end - or a sketch. Photography takes a subjective concept, primarily sight, and objectively mechanizes it. Part of my work is distancing myself from the image’s physical origin. When I begin the process of reassembly and editing the photos, I am already separated on a mechanized level.
Is there any single book/article/artist/album etc. that has had a major impact on your practice and why?
Absolutely - what began this fascination with windows and reflections are the illustrations in Goodnight Moon, the children’s book. The illustrations show the difference between illuminated and darkened spaces with subtle chromatic shifts. Also, I view it as an early introduction to the “architectural uncanny” a concept (and book by Anthony Vidler) that I’m referencing constantly.
What are you most looking forward to about being in Pittsburgh for the next couple months?
I’m looking forward to exploring and meeting the art community here. Additionally, I’m dying to learn as much historical information about production and Pittsburgh as I can. All of the buildings here are made of brick, wrought iron, and glass blocks, all which take an enormous amount of energy (coal) to make. The idea that these houses signify and proudly display the history of production and its culture in Pittsburgh is really intriguing to me, and something I plan to investigate further.
You can browse Emma's work and find out more about her on her website,