Emma Phillips – Too Much to Dream

Set around the focal point of the home, the most recent series of photographs by Emma Phillips give insight into the illusory, diffuse and at times peculiar cross-section of womanhood and memory. Presented as large-scale gelatin silver prints, images of banal, quotidian and familiar subjects’ — landscapes, portraits and still lifes — reveal Phillips’ intimate and slow approach which gently unfolds and seeks to lay bare a pointed vulnerability and shimmering sense of the unsettling space between reality and illusion.

I often wake late in the morning, and with an overwhelming sense of images that flicker, dreams I cannot recall, just a wrinkling sense that something happened while my eyes were closed, my mind drifting.

The photographs in this series are situated under this banner, the title — Too Much to Dream — suggests a glutinous, irrepressible and hallucinatory state, while simultaneously referencing a more aspirational mode of being.

Mirroring the title, the photographs hover in a trance-like stupor, evoking a sense of claustrophobia, isolation, confusion and an under-world, a place where young girls with six limbs play, women stand together but apart, they sit still and stare from their beds, they are watching and they are being watched.

Emma Phillips

Emma Phillips (Mornington, 1989) is a photographer and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her photographs have been exhibited widely and published in a variety of contexts. Most recently her exhibition “Too Much to Dream” turned its gaze toward a more speculative mode of image making, using the gap between text and image to pose questions on and about the nature of representational discourses. From 2014-2019 Emma was the photobook buyer at Perimeter Books, where she also implemented the Perimeter Talks program, a series of panel discussions, lectures, and more casual in-conversations with publishers, artists, curators, designers, writers and editors exploring and addressing various themes and issues relating to contemporary photographic, art and design publishing. Emma is a writer on photography and photographic practises, contributing to journals such as The Heavy Collective. She graduated in 2017 with an MFA from the University of Hartford’s International Limited-Residency program. Emma is represented by ReadingRoom, Melbourne.

All photographs courtesy the artist and ReadingRoom, Melbourne.