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THE GRID PAINTINGS: "It's interesting to revisit a subject I've often painted, using my grid technique. 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’ve spent the winter months painting large, colourful flowers and bright, clean space. The variety of shapes, colours and textures was particularly stimulating against the backdrop of that long season.
I’ve been a still life painter for thirty years. This past year, at age fifty, I decided to strip the still life to its most basic form – an object in space. No tabletop, no wall, no floor, no glass, wood, cloth, or metal. Instead these works explore a balance between what is simple and what is complex, fragile/strong, light/dark. I use the flower as an expression of form and symbol. I believe that the word is also an exhortation: flower. Even in the deepest winter, the coldest season.
- Robert Lemay, June 2013
- There’s a new generation of painters every 20-25 years and so we continually re-negotiate reality. It’s not a fixed thing, reality, so something with a long history in humanity – the cultivation of flowers, which is something that appears in almost all cultures – seems a good place to explore one’s own vision of a particular reality, a particular way of seeing.
- The idea of the simple flower portrait is a direct approach to still life. When one ‘reads’ a still life, one sees the objects as an indication or substitute for human presence. Instead of portraits of humans, I’m painting portraits of flowers. I want to paint a flower in a way that you see there is only one quite like it.
- The scale I’m working at in these works is helping me to explore these different values, these fundamentals of painting, in a satisfying combination. Also, the increased scale of the flowers encourages me to leave more direct brushstrokes as I’m more confident I can achieve the values I want with a more direct approach.
2017 Spring Show, Barbara Frigerio contempory Art, Milan, Italy
2017 CANADA 150, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2016 JOY, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2016 Iconic Women, Shayne Gallery, Montreal, QC
2016 Grid, Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
2015 Robert Lemay 30 Years, Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2013 "Flower," Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2011 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2010 "In a Narrow Space," Shayne Gallery, Montreal, PQ
2009 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
2008 Calm Things, Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2007 Shayne Gallery, Montreal, PQ
2006 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
2005 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2004 Shayne Gallery, Montreal, PQ
2003 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2002 Shayne Gallery, Montreal, PQ
Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
2001 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2000 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
1998 Hollander York Gallery, Toronto, ON
Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1997 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
1996 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1995 Hollander York Gallery, Toronto, ON
Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
1994 Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, AB
Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
Hollander York Gallery, Toronto, ON
1993 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1992 Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton, AB
1991 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
1989 Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton, AB
1988 Woltjen/Udell, Vancouver, BC
1987 Woltjen/Udell, Edmonton, AB
GROUP EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)
2011 “For the Love of Art” Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB
1999 “New Talent Invitational” Denise Bibro Fine Arts, New York City, NY
“Alberta: Six Degrees of Separation”, Prairie Regional Art Gallery, Grand Prairie, AB
1998 “Multiple Realities” Muttart Public Art Gallery, Calgary, AB
1997 “Still Life”, McMullen Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Alberta Art Foundation
Alberta Treasury Branch
Bennet, Jones, Verchere
Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Embassy: Beijing, China; Canberra, Australia
Edmonton City Hall
Graceland University, Lamoni, IA
Lethbridge Regional Hospital
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
2016 "Affair of the Art", Edmonton Journal
2016 Fashion Magazine, "Picture Perfect: Robert Lemay's Artistic Take on Magazines"
2016 Where Magazine, Calgary, "Grid", May/June 2016
2014 Avant Magazine, interview, Vol. V, issue 2
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.
2014 Inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Graceland University, Lamoni, IA
2007 Alberta Society of Artists, September 13, 2007