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Luanne Martineau

January 21, 2012 - March 25, 2012

AWE Gallery

Luanne Martineau, Form Fantasy, 2009, Industrial felt, needle- felted wool and thread, Collection of the artist. Courtesy TrépanierBaer, Calgary

Known primarily for her hybrid felt and wool sculptures, Luanne Martineau belongs to a generation of artists who use traditional craft techniques and materials in a critically engaged artistic practice. She produces needle-punched felt by piercing dyed raw sheep’s wool fibres over and over again with a long needle. Strands of various colours are entwined and compressed together to create a decidedly painterly effect, while the building up of many layers hardens the felt, resulting in dense, thickly sculptural masses. Her slowing down of the processes of production and her critical revisiting of craft — what she terms “reskilling” — have for Martineau both aesthetic and political significance.

Through her work, the artist engages in a series of “conversations” with a diverse range of interlocutors that include Abstract Expressionism, Postminimalism, feminism, the informe, popular culture, prairie ruralism and craft. She orchestrates encounters between the powerfully organic nature of her images, forms associated with high-modernist art and craft techniques in a way that destabilizes the ideological foundations of her references. From the simplest of craft techniques to origami, from industrial manufacture to the labour-intensive transformation of materials, from Abstract Expressionist painting to the Duchampian ready-made, Martineau juxtaposes specific moments in the historical narratives of art and craft.

In the felt sculptures, drawings and what she calls “drulptures” — a unique combination of the two — presented in this exhibition, Martineau triggers an experience that wavers between fascination and repulsion, between the macroscopic and the microscopic. Through a multiplication of contradictory codes, she creates works that refuse to sit comfortably within the categories of abstract or figurative, minimalist or expressionist, drawing or sculpture, beautiful or grotesque, high or low, craft or art.

Luanne Martineau was born in 1970 in Saskatoon and currently lives and works in Montreal.

Lesley Johnstone, Conservatrice/Curator, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

This exhibition is organized by Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in collaboration with the AGW

A Season of Abstract Art Media Sponsor

In this exhibit

Luanne Martineau, Form Fantasy, 2009, Industrial felt, needle- felted wool and thread, Collection of the artist. Courtesy TrépanierBaer, Calgary

Luanne Martineau, Parasite Buttress, 2005, needle-felted wool and mattress foam , 25.0 cm x 680.0 cm, Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

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