Yaletown Station – Full Frontal
By Lyse Lemieux
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Lyse Lemieux, comprising two new inter-related large-scale commissions across the façades of the gallery and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station. Titled FULL FRONTAL, this new work both challenges and exploits the opportunities presented at each location.
Lemieux’s artistic practice is often described as focused on drawing, balanced between figuration and abstraction. But the artist’s material handling of line and form is key to understanding her process and thinking. Lemieux “draws” with black wool felt, found garments and dressmaker’s sheers, as often as with ink. “I need to hold the line in my hands,” she states.
Whether working in small notebooks or across the “page” of a building façade, Lemieux’s working process is inseparable from the forms she creates, which are almost always in reference to the human figure, or the garments that clothe it. The artist 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. She is deeply aware of the significance of clothing, the way it declares or masks our subject positions, constrains and liberates us. At CAG, the sequence of large-scale black ellipses on a fleshy-beige background alternates with areas of a woven pattern, to quite literally hem in the building. In the intervention at Yaletown-Roundhouse, by contrast, the same woven pattern is draped, gathered and pulled across the surface of the glass pavilion, offering glimpses of what lies inside.
Lemieux’s wry humour is revealed in this new commission’s title. Simultaneously subtle, yet literally in your face, FULL FRONTAL offers a playful proposition of the private within the public realm, and assertion of the individual and the gendered within and against the homogenous surroundings of the city.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.
Lyse Lemieux lives and works in Vancouver. Recent solo exhibitions include A Girls Gotta Do What A Girls Gotta Do, Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC (2016); Black Is The Size Of My New Skirt, Republic Gallery, Vancouver; In-Between-In-Between: Lyse Lemieux & Meryl McMaster, Katzman Contemporary, Toronto (2015); Soldiers and Vesperers, Chernoff Fine Arts, Vancouver (2009); Skinslips / Peau de Jupon, Musée Marsil, St. Lambert, Québec (2006); Mignonnette Reine de Nainville, Sylviane Poirier Art Contemporain, Montréal (2004); A Fleur De Peau / Second Skin, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (1989); Michèle Delisle / Lyse Lemieux, La Commune di Perugia, Italy (1987). Participation in recent group exhibitions includes Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures, Vancouver Art Gallery (2016-17); Aujourd’hui Encore, Trépanier Baer Gallery, Calgary (2016); Out of Line, Oakville Galleries, Ontario (2015); Cut & Paste, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver (2012). In 2017 Lemieux was the recipient of the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts VIVA award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts.