Lyse Lemieux, No Fixed Abode. Installation view at SFU Gallery, 2020. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

Lyse Lemieux: No Fixed Abode

January 11 - May 7, 2020
SFU Gallery

Lyse Lemieux's artistic practice engages the line through forms that range from figuration to abstraction, and that extend into installation and sculpture. No Fixed Abode is an exhibition of drawings, both three-dimensional textile drawings and large drawings on paper, through which Lemieux uses the line in a nonlinear way, where sources are humorously uncertain, references ambiguous, and yet they assume a physical assuredness.

Lemieux's exhibition title refers to the elusive subject of Franz Kafka's short story Odradek, or The Cares of a Family Man (1919). The story is about a figure or thing called Odradek that is somewhere between subject and object. "He lurks by turn in the garret, the stairway, the lobbies, the entrance hall. …Yet when asked, 'And where do you live?' 'No fixed abode,' he says, and laughs, but it is only the kind the mind of laughter that has no lungs behind it." Pursuing forms that inhabit a space of ambiguity, Lemieux’s works resist being easily read, particularly in her blurring of subject and object.

Odradek's formlessness resolves materially in Lemieux’s Odradek Bundles and Odradek Drawings, but raises questions around the production of a subjective position within the collective. Where do we locate the subject in Lemieux's work? Where do we locate the object? Where does the body reside, whether our own body, the artist’s body, the female body, the collective body? How does one subject, object or body eclipse or speak for another?

The Odradek Bundles are three-dimensional drawings made of found, saved and sorted textiles whose resonance has personal and collective implications. The bundles, or beings, bind together thrift store finds – wool tartans, cotton madras, gingham and plaid – with personal items – a cow hide stiletto once worn by the artist's mother, a racoon coat – and lines “drawn” with the deft snip of the scissors. The bundles aren't clothed but made of garments that become a body.

The line in Lemieux’s Odradek Drawings weaves across the paper, connecting the surfaces, sometimes in oil stick and in others, textiles or black felt. The black and white drawings play with how the line sits with the paper, whether through absorption or through surface adherence of a non-liquid form such as glued felt. And the line connects, particularly through the felt, to the bundles. Each of the ten works on paper references a bundle, not as a sketch but as a subsequent work where the flat drawings follow the three-dimensional ones.

In staying with ambiguity, Lemieux's work refutes binary thinking, an increasingly urgent repudiation in our current climate. With a humorous pathos that approaches the uncanny as well as larger generational questions around feminism, Lemieux's ambivalence ensures that the work remains destablizingly unknowable.

Within the exhibition is a reading room related to Lemieux's work, as well as selections for Carleigh Baker's Shadbolt Writer in Residence activities at SFU Gallery. The reading room includes materials loaned from SFU Library.

Lyse Lemieux is a Vancouver based artist. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Richmond Art Gallery; Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver; Republic Gallery, Vancouver; Katzman Contemporary, Toronto; Musée Marsil, Quebec; Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver; La Commune di Perugia, Italy; and has been included in group exhibitions at Vancouver Art Gallery and Oakville Galleries. She has collaborated with choreographer/dancer Ziyan Kwan on Dumb Instrument Dance at Richmond Art Gallery (2016) and À Fleur De Peau: The Skin Project with Marguerite Witvoet and Barbara Bourget for Vancouver International Dance Festival (2005). Lemieux was the recipient of the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation VIVA award in 2017. She holds a BFA from the University of British Columbia.

Curated by Melanie O'Brian


Opening Reception
Saturday, January 11, 1 - 3pm
SFU Gallery 

At 2pm there will be a reading of Franz Kafka’s Odradek, or The Cares of a Family Man by the artist.

Support Material