The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Lyse Lemieux, incorporating two new inter-related large-scale commissions across the gallery façade and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.
Lemieux’s artistic practice is often described as one focused on drawing, balanced between figuration and abstraction. Whether working in small (and until very recently, private) notebooks, on sheets of paper, or across the “page” of the gallery façade and the glass panelled architecture of the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Lemieux’s working process is inseparable from the forms she creates, which are almost always in reference to the human figure.
At CAG, large-scale black ellipses quite literally cover and contain the building, redolent of familiar forms, both revealing and concealing the architecture on which they’re displayed. But while part of the artist’s composition across the façade might suggest something figural, it equally refers to the body by proxy: through the garments that clothe it, the patterned sections recalling fabric drapes, the design itself wrapping the building. Lemieux is haunted by certain forms—like the black tunic she wore throughout Catholic school as a girl, or the pleated skirt—motifs that reappear again and again throughout her work. Deeply aware of the significance of clothing, the way it declares or masks our subject positions, constrains and liberates us, the artist thinks like a patternmaker: she sees the body through the cut of a skirt, the slope of a shoulder seam. While the works at CAG appear to hem in the building, suggestive of what and how something is enclosed, by contrast, at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, the artwork appears pulled back, offering glimpses of what lies behind or underneath.
The title, FULL FRONTAL, which joins together the two works, is a description of the works’ enveloping and reclaiming of the space of the architecture which provides its support. Simultaneously subtle, yet literally in your face, it is here we sense the solution to the presentation of the private in the public realm, Lemieux’s stance asserting the individual and the gendered within the bland, homogenous surroundings of this part of the city.
At the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, work is presented by CAG in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransit BC. Lemieux is grateful for the support of Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Council. FULL FRONTAL is also supported by Proper Design.
Download the bulletin pdf here