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.

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.

Essentially, I’m allowed under fair use exemption to copyright to make a painting of a magazine cover the same way that Andy Warhol was allowed to make a painting of a Campbell’s soup can or a Coca-cola bottle. The primary idea is of transformation. So an ink on paper photo is transformed into a unique one-of oil on canvas, which is different in scale, material, and execution from the source material. There are other issues, ie. of direct commercial substitution - an original painting does not compete with a magazine. Also fine art has been ruled to be in a separate category of goods than other commodities and to be copyright exempt for the purpose of comment.

In short, artists are allowed to depict whatever they want and are not in trademark or copyright violation especially when making a handmade, unique depiction. In my case there are noticeable differences from the original source, ie. removal of text from the cover and the aforementioned scale and material.

36 X 48 in. - $6,700 CAD
24 X 24 in. - $2,500 CAD
Robert Lemay artwork 'MID SUMMER PEONIES' at Canada House Gallery
40 X 60 in. - $7,600 CAD
Robert Lemay artwork 'PEONY GARDEN' at Canada House Gallery
48 X 48 in. - $7,400 CAD
Robert Lemay artwork 'ROSES, PEONIES, RANUNCULUS' at Canada House Gallery
24 X 24 in. - $2,500 CAD
Robert Lemay artwork 'MID SUMMER PEONIES II' at Canada House Gallery
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