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 "Nothing is more abstract than reality."

~ Giorgio Morandi

 

My new series is titled, "Big Screen TV." I'm using my grid technique to highlight the digital. These days oil paintings often compete for wall space with big screen TVs and this series plays with that reality. 

In my series, "Grid," I paint square by square, row by row. The painting may appear digitized but is meticulously hand painted. I've always used the grid to scale up my photos but leaving traces of the process creates a tension between the image and the squares of tone and colour which are reassembled by the eye. I think about Gerhard Richter as I make all those choices in each square of the grid – deciding how much and where to blur things. Each square ends up being an abstract painting in a way.

I've always used the grid, as artists since the Renaissance have done to scale up their images, though in these paintings I've allowed it to be seen. In the modern era the grid becomes a subject unto itself underscoring the abstraction. The frontality and regularity of the grid has been explored as a separate subject matter in contemporary art by such artists as Chuck Close, Brice Marden, and Agnes Martin.

My row by row construction of a realist image is meant to reveal the abstraction of the paint handling, the history of the technique, and to connect these with a contemporary digital environment.

I’m interested in the layers of transformations – from the transformation of the model, to the photoshopped image, which then becomes a ubiquitous image seen in grocery store aisles and on coffee tables. Unlike the mass produced glossy magazine cover, paint is a kind of skin, a unique surface.

The use of 'found' imagery echoes Warhol's use of tabloid photographs of Liz, Marilyn and Elvis and also the early paintings of Gerhard Richter who also employed the strategy of using newspaper images as his source material. 

 

 


 

AWARDS

2007   Alberta Foundation for the Arts Projects Grant

1996   Alberta Foundation for the Arts Projects Grant

1990   Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant

1989   Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant

 

LECTURES, RESIDENCIES, and HONOURS

2015    Shaw Communications has named a room in Shaw Court, Calgary, Alberta, The Robert Lemay Room

2014    Inaugural Artist in Residence, Graceland University, Iowa, November 2014

2007    Alberta Society of Artists, September 13, 2007

 

COLLECTIONS

Alberta Art Foundation,; Alberta Energy; Alberta Treasury Branch; Bennet, Jones, Verchere; Canada Council Art Bank; Canadian Embassy: Beijing, China; Canberra, Australia; Chevron Oil; Cliff Lede Wineries, Yountville, California; Edmonton City Hall; Foreign Affairs; Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa); Interprovincial Pipeline; Lethbridge Regional Hospital; Norcen Resources; Ocelot Energy;  Shaw Communications; Suncor Energy; Westin Hotels

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016       "Iconic Women," Shayne Gallery, Montreal

2016       "Grid," Wallace Galleries, Calgary

2015       Robert Lemay: 30 Years, Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2013       "Flower," Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2011       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2010       "In a Narrow Space," Shayne Gallery, Montreal

2009       Wallace Galleries, Calgary

2008       "Calm Things," Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton. 

2007       Shayne Gallery, Montreal

2006       Wallace Galleries, Calgary

2005       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2004       Shayne Gallery, Montreal

2003       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2002       Shayne Gallery, Montreal

               Wallace Galleries, Calgary 

2001       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

2000       Wallace Galleries, Calgary 

1998       Hollander York Gallery, Toronto

               Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver 

1997       Wallace Galleries, Calgary

1996       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

1995       Hollander York Gallery, Toronto

               Wallace Galleries, Calgary

1994       Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver

               Wallace Galleries, Calgary

               Hollander York Gallery, Toronto

1993       Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton

1992       Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton

1991       Wallace Galleries, Calgary

1989       Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton

1988       Woltjen/Udell, Vancouver

1987       Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton

 

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)

2011    “For the Love of Art,” Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta 

1999    “New Talent Invitational” Denise Bibro Fine Arts, New York City

            “Alberta: Six Degrees of Separation,” Prairie Regional Art Gallery

             Grand Prairie, AB

1998    “Multiple Realities,” Muttart Public Art Gallery, Calgary

1997     “Still Life," McMullen Art Gallery, Edmonton 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2016   Fashion Magazine, "Picture Perfect: Robert Lemay's Artistic Take on Magazines." May 2016.

2016    Where Calgary Magazine, "Grid." May/June 2016.

2014    Avant Magazine, Interview. Volume V, Issue 2, 2014.

2010    Canadian Interviews. “The Moment of Astonishment: Interview with Robert Lemay.” canadianinterviews.com.  

2010    Ryan, Janice. “Oil Paintings Animate Common Objects,” Edmonton Journal, Friday, June 17, 2011.

2009    Notebook Magazine. V.3, Issue 8. “Shawna & Robert Lemay: Calm Things.”

2008    Bouchard, Gilbert. “Lemay Reinterprets Iconic Art in his Neutral Realist Style,”  Edmonton Journal, Friday, April 11, 2008.

2006    Bouchard, Gilbert.  “Alberta: What is Visible,” Galleries West Magazine.

2005    Bouchard, Gilbert. “Lemay Breathes New Life into Form”, Edmonton Journal. Oct 7, G8. 

2005    Lemay, Shawna. “Precarious”, Artichoke. Summer,  2005, pp. 38-45.

2003    Kellog, Alan. “Catching Up With the Beautiful People”, Edmonton Journal.

2001    Bouchard, Gilbert. “Real Life Frozen in Still-Life Mastery”, Edmonton Journal. May 4, E14

1999    Gustafson, Paula. “Robert Lemay at Douglas Udell Gallery,” Asian Art News, March/April 1999

1998    Image reproduced. Alberta Views, Spring Vol. 1, No.2, pp. 15.

1996    Mandel, Charles. “Still-Life Showing so Conventional it’s Uncongenial”, Edmonton Journal. 

            January 25, C5.

1993    “Time is Frozen in a Painter’s Still Life Studies”, Edmonton Journal. December.

1992    “Artist Follows Cezanne’s Example”, Edmonton Journal.

1989   Beauchamp, Elizabeth. “Summer Candid Pictures Can Lift Winter Mood”,Edmonton Journal. December  2, D4.