new-york

Emma Tapley

Fischbach Gallery

Beyond their scale and genre, Emma Tapley’s small, realist landscape paintings, all but two of the fifteen on view from 1999, have little more in common than their surface quality, which is of an almost perfect smoothness and even density. Although photographs may well enter into the preparatory stage of Tapley’s working process, the paintings themselves are not notably photographic in feeling (except insofar as we lazily associate any form of illusionistic realism with the camera), but they resemble photographs in the way the image seems to inhere in a homogeneous surface, as in an emulsion. That’s not to say that Tapley completely effaces any trace of her hand, however; the individual brushstroke can sometimes be quite evident, though minute. It’s as if each one has deposited the least necessary quantum of paint, so that the visible trace remains as nearly devoid of substance and

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