Ending Up plays with the idea of a sculptor in her studio. In modern art history the sculpture studio is a powerful site of chaos and creation. Images from the early 20th century show predominantly male artists such as Edward V. Valentine and Alberto Giacometti in rooms full of wooden shelves teeming with ceramic objects of all sizes. Beams of sunlight fall on life-size female figures cast in clay and marble. In her exhibition, artist Katie Lemieux casts a voyeuristic lens on this history. Instead of a room dominated by the male gaze, her multi-gendered and androgynous clay subjects are vehicles for a complicated range of human expression.
In the gallery, large-scale abstract figures tower over a population of finger-like objects. Heads with no bodies sit on shelves, faces are without serenity, and human and animal figures are marked by the outside world. A series of charcoal drawings focus on the surface of ceramic.
Nonverbal communication is important in her work. Communication therapists believe 70-90% of our communication is paraverbal, or outside of words. As a personal support worker to youth with disabilities, the concept of paraverbal language shapes her exploration in clay. Facial expressions, posture and hand movements often speak louder than words. Her works are made with a silent message in mind which is often the case with the individuals in the real world outside of the studio.
Katie Lemieux, How Revealing (detail), ceramic, 2021
Katie Lemieux was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She holds an Honors in Fine Arts in ceramics from Lakehead University in 2016 and a Masters in Fine Arts from the Peck School of the Arts, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2019). In 2015 Katie was invited to participate in a six week residency at the renowned Jingdhezhen Facility in the province of Sanbao, China. Visiting the birthplace of the ancient ceramic art form was a humbling experience for Katie, where she discovered listening to the clay body is as important as commanding it. She has exhibited in group shows in Canada, the USA and Europe, with recent exhibitions in Croatia (Ladica Ex Tempore, 2015) and Busan, South Korea (Hello Artist 열린 예술 공간, 2021).
Since her Masters, Katie has moved back home to Thunder Bay and works as an artist, ceramic and sculpture technician. She also works as a Personal Support Worker with young adults. Her social work continues to drive her artistic narrative as she works in her at-home studio. Ending Up is her first solo exhibition.
Discover more, visit Katie on Instagram: @artist.katielemieux