Art Exhibit by Emma Difani

 

  • Exhibition run dates: September 10 – October 14, 2020
  • Located in the Visitor Lobby on the south end of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory
  • Free to view during visitor hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm

Emma Difani is a visual artist originally from Albuquerque, NM, living and working in Oklahoma City. She received a BFA in Printmaking from the University of New Mexico. Emma has been Artists-in-Residence at the Herekeke Arts Center in Taos, New Mexico, and Artspace at Untitled in Oklahoma City. She is a member of the Factory Obscura art collective, co-founder of Connect: Collect, an annual international print exchange, and teaches printmaking at Oklahoma City University. Her work uses the obsessive layering of printmaking to explore connection and the complex relationships between the natural and constructed environments. More information can be found on her website here.

Emma Difani

Encircle

Within natural and built environments meet is where Emma Difani finds expression

With an ongoing interest in the connection between natural and built environments, Myriad Botanical Gardens seems to be the perfect place for an upcoming exhibit by mixed-media artist Emma Difani. The New Mexico native, who is now an Oklahoma City resident, currently lives and works in close proximity to the Gardens. She comes to the grounds at least twice a week to stroll and observe. During this time of social distancing and isolation, Difani is curious about how the plants, animals, and people interact.

“Lately, I have been using my walks in the Gardens not only for inspiration and to be outside, but to watch interactions there,” she said. “This is especially important to me with everything that is happening in the world at the moment. I feel like I have seen so many more people in the urban area of the city spending time outside. I think this is a way to avoid containment and isolation. We can interact, but only at a distance.”

These observations have informed her current work, a collection titled Encircle, which will be on display in the Visitor Center of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, beginning Thursday, Sept. 10. Difani will include pieces that are a continuation of work that she began last year that feature abstract images of nature.

“The Gardens as a venue is central to the ideas that I am interested in right now,” she explained. “Layering and interaction. Grown and constructed environments. The intersection of these things has been my focus.”

With scraps of fabric, paper, and other environmental leftovers, Emma Difani maps roads that lead to all the best destinations: nature, community, and place. 

Emma Difani

Like so many of us, Difani is primarily working from home. Going for walks and bike rides is a regular part of her day as she enjoys observing various interactions along the way. As social creatures, she said, it is odd to think that typically common interactions, like a handshake or quick hug hello, feels distinctly unwelcome.

Her South Lobby exhibit is thematically the same as images she started earlier but the work has shifted visually.

“It has been exciting to see this work emerging,” she said. “Painting these bright, repetitive shapes gave me time and space to think about these connections and inject some hope into what was otherwise not a very creatively productive time. The spring was rough but this exhibition has definitely helped me focus.

Her main goal is to create work that acts as a contemplative space to reimagine connections – to the natural world and to other people – and inspire action.
Difani is a member of the Factory Obscura art collective, co-founder of Connect: Collect, an international print exchange, and teaches at Oklahoma City University and Artspace at Untitled.

Painting these bright, repetitive shapes gave me time and space to think about these connections and inject some hope into what was otherwise not very creatively productive time. The Spring was rough but this exhibition has definitely helped me focus.

Her main goal is to create work that acts as a contemplative space to reimagine connections – to the natural world and to other people – and inspire action. 

Difani is a member of the Factory Obscura art collective, co-founder of Connect: Collect, an international print exchange, and teaches printing making at ARTSPACE at Untitled. teaches at Oklahoma City University and Artspace at Untitled.

Artist Statement

I am an observer, a recorder, a collector, a deliberator, a mapmaker. I draw abstract cartographic symbols from the grown and constructed environments, creating maps to navigate towards a future rooted in connectivity and respect for people and the planet. My drawings and objects of paper and fabric consist of dozens of layers in watercolor, print, and graphite. This layering reflects my training as a printmaker and mirrors the overlapping, complex places and communities, human or otherwise, that inhabit the places I draw. Appreciation of materials and experimentation guide my process. This includes saving quilt scraps to make paper, using the leftovers from my kitchen studio to dye fabric, and collecting milk cartons as printmaking matrices. Paper and fabric are a direct synthesis of the natural and the cultural, mirroring my explorations of the relationships between the organic and manufactured, human-made environments. The materials I use are a reflection of the regenerative relationships I cultivate.