The artist Annette Lemieux presented a solo exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in 2022. The title was formed by two words: “Things Felt,” being “thing” a word that refers, according to one of its meanings, to an object. In this exhibition this fact becomes especially important because some of the works included are made up of quotidian objects; the other sense of the word “thing,” is referred to as a situation. Being “felt” as a verb, according to its meaning, refers to the act of sensing, be it with the senses or the emotions. That verb in the title of the exhibition is conjugated in its simple past form, which alludes to something that occurred before, that is a fact which is related to the memory. Having mentioned the last ideas, the combination of the words “Things Felt,” could be interpreted in one sense: as objects perceived before, and in the other sense, situations that were experienced before.
In her latest works, conceptual artist Annette Lemiuex, a member of the Pictures Generation, mines TV, film, and literary history to focus on “isolation, division, and brokenness,” according to the gallery. In one work, titled Midnight Sun and made in part from a film still from The Twilight Zone, Lemiuex depicts an artist painting in vain amid a heatwave that melts the pigment off her canvas. In part a reflection on the difficulties of the vocation, the work also references wider looming troubles ahead.
MARIO PÉREZ: Curators are supposed to elaborate a kind of narrative discourse on the works shown at an exhibition but, did it happen that your work was included in any exhibition and you though the curatorship had nothing to do with the image you made?
ANNETTE LEMIEUX: If I am understanding your question correctly – a very long time ago a curator wanted to include my work in an exhibition that was about abstraction. I refused to be part of the exhibition, as my work wasn’t abstract in my mind. the relationship ended badly.
On view, through bodies of work both new and old, is Lemieux’s timely consideration of the longstanding but increasingly visible political and social divide that’s often characterized between urban and rural Americans. The works identify film as a medium that can uniquely serve as common ground for many populaces; it can transport stories and ideas while often locating reference points for diverse audiences, traversing political bubbles. The films, with their discussions of censorship, pathologization, racism, and class division, resonate today almost as if they aren’t, in fact, decades old.
Interview with Steve Miller and Annette Lemieux from Issue 17. Enigma
Lemieux’s approach is generally cool, mechanical, post-modern — repurposing secondhand imagery to make new meanings. In this case, her themes are anxiety, censorship, surveillance and murder in the era of President Donald Trump.
The gallery inaugurates its new uptown digs with a fine sampling of late-eighties works by a pioneer of post-Conceptualist painting, construction, and photomontage. Lemieux’s satirical content may be subtle but it registers with the snap of a major-league breaking ball.
THE DAILY PIC (#1643): The new Elizabeth Dee space in Harlem opened on Saturday, and this piece is from the first exhibition in its new “research series” – in this case, a focused presentation of the work of Annette Lemieux, the neglected 1980s artist. According to the gallery, Lemieux’s 1988 canvas, titled Nomad, reproduces the footprint of her Boston studio at the time, and is “a play on the idea of how she could ‘re-enter’ painting, which she considered while pacing back and forth across the studio. The act is replicated here, and for the duration, she never left the canvas.”
Annette Lemieux's equivocal place among those contemporary artists drawn to reminice--let's call them "nostalgics"--is far from commensurate with her prominence in what might be termed Feminist Conceptualism.
Conceptual mixed media artist Annette Lemieux‘s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Decordova Museum; and numerous museums around the world. She has received numerous grants and fellowships and exhibits regularly at the McKee Gallery, New York, and was included in the Whitney Biennial 2000. Annette Lemieux lives in Brookline, Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard University.