Wavepool – In broad terms, how would you describe your interests as an artist to someone encountering your work for the first time?
Emily Mason – My interests have always stemmed from the multifaceted nature of experience. After an experience there is a memory, and the way these two interact and are interpreted has always interested me. I magnify the nuances that occur while trying to remember the details. Specifics often fade in and out of focus, gaining and losing significance simultaneously, similarly to my work. That being said, my work moves in and out of reality, often times, creating a type of spatial ambivalence.
Wavepool – Can you tell me a little bit about your approach to making and your use of photographic images as a material?
Emily Mason – I spend a lot of my time gathering information. This information can come in the form of collecting physical objects, photographing, or extracting the visceral imprint a stone left in my palm. I want to create familiarity in a way the viewer could never experience in actual time. My method of working involves a lot of trial and error; I am constantly rearranging components in my images to properly display what I remember or don’t. It’s really a combination of experiments in the studio with the physical print and various reincarnations.
Using photographic images is a process that I have been developing for three years now. Rephotographing photographic prints allows me to create unrealistic compressed perspectives that confuses the assumed monocular view the camera lens offers. Inconsistencies can be found from piece to piece that provoke the viewer to search for more.
Wavepool – Where and when does the material come from? What do you look for?
Emily Mason – My materials don’t really come from a specific process in place or time; I collect intuitively. I keep my perimeters open and pick up things that interest me or remind me of something. I find objects in stores and on the ground. You should probably know, I have a rock collection that weighs over 100 pounds.
Wavepool – With time being an essential component to both experience and memory, I’m curious about the role time plays in your process. How soon do you begin working with the information you gather?
Emily Mason – Time has become a very strong component in my work over the last few years. I work with photos taken in different places after the fact. It’s important for me to remove myself to fully reflect. In the moment I am too engaged with the qualities that surround me. Time is the mechanism that cultivates the visceral into the enigmatic that ultimately brings a work to life. During my series LIMBO I had no access to prints or studio space for three months. I think the time apart from the experience let me work in the studio in new ways that I am very excited about.
Wavepool – How do you identify when something is complete? Do you ever revisit ideas that you once considered to be complete?
Emily Mason – It really varies from piece to piece for me. Sometimes I want to work with an image as a background, sometimes I physically manipulate with cutting, drawing, or reconstructing, while other times I am happy with just the original image as the finished piece. Once there is a plan with the imagery, and it’s been executed it’s usually clear whether or not I’ve achieved what I’m looking for. It’s the moment that I am familiarized with my intention that I know I have completed a work.
Wavepool – Who or what has been the most influential in the development of your practice?
Emily Mason – Recently my most influential development was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived next door to nine cloistered nuns in a monastery. 7,000 feet closer to the sun and landlocked, I grasped my reality just as it had dissipated. My newest series LIMBO functions similarly.
To see more, please visit Emily’s website.