A interview from 2013 by David Hagger for Artist Profile magazine, Issue #25.


DH: Clearly a process driven artist, what is it specifically that pushes you to continually pursue the line as subject?
EL: From the beginning, the line was a way of denoting different parts of the composition visually, in the way that cross-hatching or simply colouring portions of the surface might. Over time, what seemed like a very basic visual language took on a life of its own and I have simply not come to the end of this exploration. It has taken on the role of 'marking time' (analog with sediment or accretion), of moving through space in time and also of notions of ‘work’, which have become increasingly important of late.

DH: There has always been a rhythmical impression to your paintings, brought about by the detailed and repetitive line work that is the foundation of each image. Your recent work, however, seems even more rhythmical. What are the significant changes that you have integrated into these works?
EL: I would normally try to create ambiguity and play with the brain's tendency to recognise form and illusion in a flat image, however over the last year most of this has disappeared, leaving me with more field-like paintings where the plane is broken up (either by stretching or compressing the lines) and also paintings where after finishing the bulk of the 'work', I take the back of a knife to the surface and incise a rough secondary line through the field. This has given me a lot more time to become involved in the repetitive incising and has pushed the compositional elements to the absolute end of the process. The allowance for the paint to bleed and create a kind of static has become key, without becoming a contrivance.

DH: Does the surface on which you paint vary this bleeding, static effect?
EL: There is a similar amount of bleed when I use aluminium as smooth timber, however the latter substrate has a certain feel that I am especially enjoying right now.

DH: So despite the design being planned, the final result relies upon a certain element of chance, albeit through an educated understanding of your process?
EL: The element of chance is a key motivator to me - I am easily bored and would not be able to face the work if I could foresee the result. I find the final stages of the painting (where the masking tape is removed) the most exciting, though I feel somewhat distant from it as I cannot be sure of what will happen. I should add that I often make impulsive decisions regarding the secondary colour, the final incisions and secondary form. I am trying to control the process, but at the last second will make a decision that inevitably changes everything.

DH: Why is working in series important to your practice?
EL: I used to always work on multiple panels that allowed me to play with the ambiguity of form and give an impression of an infinite field of which the work was only a small section. Now though, I am drawn to working on individual small panels which build up to create a larger wall or conglomerative piece (starting with the Discrete work), as it seems to be an extension of the ideas behind each individual piece: layering, passage of time, instalments and increments.

DH: Figurative artists have a leaning towards enormous works. How important is scale for you as a non-objective artist?
EL: Because there is nothing represented in the work, there is only the viewer and the work (ideally) physically in the space, scale is paramount. Something you feel you could step into is always going to have an entirely different effect to something resembling a small object. After travelling to Paris earlier this year and meeting (in real life and online) many European artists, I noticed that a lot of their work is humble in size. This might have been borne out of practical constraints and I cannot deny that these are a consideration, however when looking at small work, one must get up close to it, look with purpose and intent... also, the object-ness of the work is emphasised in this manner.

DH: You have been included in a number of international exhibitions in recent times. How have these exhibitions come about and what has your inclusion meant to you as an Australian artist?
EL:All of the overseas exhibitions (in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland and USA) have come about through social media, which I use fairly exclusively for the purposes of promotion, interaction and feedback. More than just making me feel as though I have many people in my studio encouraging me and giving me honest appraisals at every turn, it has provided me with a worldwide network of like-minded artists, collectors and gallerists whose daily feedback is more than I could have ever hoped for. Living in a geographically isolated location like Melbourne need no longer mean being invisible.


A short interview from 2005 by David Hagger for the Melbourne based think tank collective Research and Development.


It is too easy to liken Emma Langridge’s work to that of Sol LeWitt, Bridget Riley, and other post 50’s Minimalist artists, but her imagery is not as exacting. Although her approach is mathematical, and sometimes as clinical, she relishes the accident as a progression of the creative process.

Langridge abandons the canvas, preferring to work on the harder surfaces of board and aluminium. She meticulously layers the already primed surface with masking tape, on which she rules rows and rows of parallel lines that are scored with a scalpel. Alternate strips are removed, and the stenciled surface is re-painted and left to dry.

Whilst painstaking in its preparation the end result can be elusive. As the final taped sections are peeled back, the raw elements of the constructed line, their proportions and base colour resonate in complex geometric forms. The bleeding paint remains, marking human touch, and creating tension between object and observer.

‘I like that juxtaposition between the so-called perfection and the fact that it’s hand made, and that you get this kind of visual static.’

Langridge draws inspiration from the structural fundamentals of electronic music, architecture, and literature. It is in these practices that she finds the most basic of functions, the passing of information, to be at its crucial juncture. Here, the foundation, the make-up, and the communicative layering are vital, for without them nothing can exist.

DH: Abstraction, like photography, gets a bit of a rough ride here in Australia. It just isn't as sought after or respected as it is in Europe or the US. Why do you think that is?
EL: Perhaps because Australia is traditionally a nation of knockers and abstract art is quite hard to defend to someone who thinks it is merely decorative, or worse, empty. I have had people tell me my work looks like nothing more than bathroom tiles.

DH: Rothko's 1953 "No. 2 (Blue, Red and Green) US$72.84 million record is a good example of the gross imbalance. The Australian auction houses have not yet realised AU$10 million for any artwork, let alone an abstract work. I think being so isolated, we rarely get to see the works of other nations' artists. Of course we see the works of the great masters, or significant others but not the grass roots artists - the emerging or mid career artists. We are not as spoilt as our international friends in that way. We seem to have a bit of an elitist society. Did you think we have a way to come before art is a part of everyday life for Australians?
EL: I think as a nation we are far from it yes, but I don't know that we are particularly moving in that direction at any great speed. I still feel like the great majority of people still are only just accepting of the Impressionists. They still ostensibly want ‘pictures of things’.

DH: On the whole we have been experiencing an upbeat art market in the past few years - which is promising. Do you keep an eye on what goes on around you in the art world? What your peers are doing?
EL: I tend to operate in a bit of a vacuum, partly because seeing other people's work often makes me panic! I always feel that I should get straight into the studio and start working… that every moment should be spent there.

DH: Are there any particular artists that you admire?
EL: At the moment I am particularly keen on the work of Brisbane artist Daniel Templeman, and also local Melburnians Magda Cebloki and James Parret. Historically however, I am still hung up on Richard Serra and Ellsworth Kelly. There was a Serra piece at the Guggenheim (in Bilbao, Spain), a few years ago and it was such a visceral experience... just incredible… and formed of such simple elements.

DH: Yes. That was the ‘Serpent’ piece. I didn’t get to see that, nor ‘The Matter of Time’ installation, but I too have such great admiration for Serra’s work. The sheer volume. We are considered to be a nation that loves to travel and from our late teens we are often encouraged to take that sabbatical to 'broaden our horizons'. You have traveled to parts of Europe. Did this change your outlook or practice at all?
EL: Absolutely. I was especially excited to see the big artists at small galleries. And seeing the same artists represented repeatedly, like Gerhardt Richter whose exhibition in Dresden was spectacular. I switched from timber to aluminium (as a support) after seeing this show. Being able to see huge collections of, for example, Cranach the elder alongside John Cage in the same space or complex was important too. It is a sign of respect that the two can stand side by side.

DH: I am recalling your Berlin works that were documented by Ken McGregor recently in his book ‘Unfinished Journeys’. Having seen some of these in the flesh, and also travelled to Berlin, I think your choice of colour appears to be highly considered. Was this intentional, or rather ingrained in your subconscious as an everyday surrounding?
EL: It was very deliberate. The paintings based on the architecture of the Hansa Viertel were mostly strange pastel combinations. Those based on the Potsdammerplatz area have exposed aluminium. I didn't try to replicate colours accurately however, merely to grasp some of the contrasts and combinations of the architecture and I suppose the mood also.

DH: Ken also explains the connection between your art and music, particularly the Detroit techno artist Carl Craig. His use of strings and layers is held in the highest regard by the widespread music community. Tell me what it is exactly that you take from this type of music to use in your paintings.
EL: I love the building up of layers and also the analogous nature of music without words and art without figures.

DH: I find Theo Parrish, another Detroit native, has a similar arrangement to Craig in that he creates multiple layers to add and subtract from throughout the course of the track. It is so simple, yet so effective. The combination of two layers is incredibly different from any other two and this makes each track a story. To me there are direct similarities in your paintings.
EL: I like that comparison. I like the ‘dirtiness’ in a lot of electronic music as well: that looped static has a rhythm. Also I find a lot of this music has to be listened to for a long time and in a disinterested fashion, before you really see it for what it is, and are rewarded with enjoyment. I find this happens a lot with abstract work.

DH: What sparked the interest in electronic music?
EL: I started listening to it when I was at University. It really captured my mood at the time and it seemed so new and exciting. There really were no sub-categories at the time, and the Detroit guys were all so anonymous so it seemed like it had been made by aliens (or sub-aquatic beings as in the case of Drexciya!).

DH: You and your brother Martin have been Dj'ing since the early 90s when Ben Stinga's 'Purveyor' record store in Perth was in operation. He had a phenomenal influence on so many people in Perth. Do you think you owe him a beer for providing an avenue for your creative output that would otherwise not have been so readily available?
EL: Maybe a brewery!!! And another for Shamus from ‘Auditory Spiral’ (RTR FM radio show) who really pushed my horizons off the planet.

DH: I understand you had, and still have, a strong following in Perth. Melbourne is rich with artists and galleries and countless festivals. Did these things make the decision to move from Perth to Melbourne definitive, as opposed to another state or back to the UK where you were born?
EL: Hmmm. Perth-ites have a longstanding tradition of moving to Melbourne, so I was picking the obvious choice for a change of scenery, however the art galleries, cool weather and lack of insects was a big draw-card!

DH: Maybe you should have tried Queensland. Insects aside, it is without a doubt Australia's current booming art market. Not just in terms of art trade, but also in the number of successful artists it is producing. Something in the water perhaps?
EL: I was recently in Brisbane and I am looking forward to heading up there again perhaps next winter. I think new architecture really draws people into art and makes them receptive to it, and this seems to be a really exciting time for the city.

DH: You have already mentioned Brisbane artist Daniel Templeman. Dane Lovett and your fellow Metro 5 colleague Anthony Lister, also Queenslanders, are continuing to do well as they have done for some time, and now Arryn Snowball and Gemma Smith have seemingly burst onto the scene. They are two abstract artists worth watching I think.
EL: There is a lot of great work out there, its true...

DH: So what is next for Emma Langridge? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
EL: Hopefully I will learn to space out my productivity and work more consistently instead of in bursts as I always tend to do! In terms of actual work, I am trying to experiment in a genuine way - which is harder than you might think for someone who has restricted her practice for so long - and want to work in the print medium as well as experimenting with scale. I am very excited at the moment about a few projects coming up. Perhaps another show, this time in Sydney, involving Andrew Gaynor.

DH: I want to leave you with something I read recently in a book about Lucien Freud. Sebastian Smee was asking to Freud about artists that were of interest to him.

SS: Have you ever liked abstract painters?
LF: I love Mondrian, but I don’t think he’s abstract. De Kooning? Well, he’s not really abstract either, and the more you look the more you see.

DH: I found that remarkably intriguing. I still can’t work out what he means. Do you subscribe to this notion of classification? In this case what is and what is not abstract?
EL: I do within myself I guess. I usually refer to my work as non-figure based because in my mind it's not an abstraction of the subject but the creation of something new, from scratch. I like work that contains itself; it is the answer to its own question and the amalgamation of its own process.