One Day Retrospective: Emma Richardson (Interview)

On 26th July 2018, Southampton based artist Emma Richardson took part in a One Day Retrospective in Arch 04 at the Arches Studios.

A few weeks on, ‘a space’ arts Programme and Projects Assistant Mia Delve caught up with Emma to chat about the exhibition and reflect on how it may impact her practice.

Mia Delve: Hi Emma! How are you and what have you been up to since I saw you last?

Emma Richardson: Hey Mia. I’ve been really enjoying drawing a lot on paper and canvas, trying different scales and mediums. And listening through all the wonderful interviews you did with people who attended the exhibition. The feedback and comments have been very enlightening and helpful in confirming some thoughts I have been having about my practice and how I should proceed.

MD: last month, you did a One Day Retrospective at the Arches Studios, how did you prepare for the exhibition, what were your processes?

ER: As soon as I was asked I felt both excited and a little terrified about the prospect of being so open about my work. It felt like a necessary challenge and it really got me thinking about my processes and the themes and ideas I’ve always been interested in and why. I really enjoyed going through the archive of sketchbooks and drawings and paintings. Even that initial stage was very revealing and interesting. With time you definitely gain perspective!

MD: How did you decide what to display and how to display it? What was your curatorial approach?

ER: I knew I definitely wanted to show as much work as physically possible in the space so it would be an impact when people walked in. And that it had to be in some kind of chronological order so hopefully there was a sign of progress. I usually document the making of a painting and so I ended up printing out a lot of these images and including them, along with the collages I make to show how a piece of work starts and gets worked into. Drawing is a very important part of my practice so having a whole separate room I could fill with just drawings from sketchbooks over the years and larger pieces was perfect.

MD: What are your thoughts about the experience and how it might impact your practice, now you’ve had some time to think and reflect?

ER: The exhibition was a revelation! I had to be brave and show a lot of work, good and bad for it all to make sense and this felt very freeing, almost cathartic so I could then move on and take my practice further. It made me realise how much work I had made over 18 years and how much I had achieved. It brought into focus what ideas and themes really worked and are still exciting to me and it has inspired me to be bolder and challenge what I am capable of. Thank you ‘a space arts’!

Listen to Audience Responses