Lani Emanuel

Lani emanuel: beside herself

october 1, 2022–March 25, 2023

"Beside Herself is a journey of personal exploration concerning a difficult childhood and adolescence. My paintings are all in some way autobiographical, but additionally they embody comparisons between my personal and contemporary young women’s issues concerning self-awareness, identity development, emotionality, introspection, family dynamics, and female relationships. The teen years can be the most formative in a woman’s life. My paintings explore the subtleties of this transitional time.

For most adolescent girls, fashion is a means of self-expression, and even allows for identity experimentation. As a former fashion designer, I place emphasis on clothing, and make it an integral part of my work. My series of shoe paintings depict playful, experimental choices in style.

The muted colors in my paintings are achieved by using primarily the Zorn limited palette. Consisting of only four colors—white, yellow ochre, red and black, the range of colors that can be achieved is surprising and unexpected.

I portray emotion, identity, vulnerability, and inner strength in my paintings by focusing on body language, gesture, gaze, and figurative relationships. I place my figures in minimal or non-environments. This serves to minimize distraction and allows the viewer to more carefully consider the young women."

–Lani Emanuel

Lani Emanuel: Beside Herself installed in OMA's stairwell

Image 2 of 27


Celebrate with us on October 29, 2022


View the artist's website, or follow the artist on Instagram.

If you would like to learn more about the artwork on view or OMA's collection please email

Comments are closed.

  • Get art delivered to your inbox.
    Make your inbox the intersection of Southern California art and everyday. Receive news on our exhibitions, events, and art.
    Thank you for subscribing!