Selected by David Salle
Annette Lemieux’s hard-edged paintings find their references in the work of earlier postwar painters, retooling those practices in the context of the earliest period of so-called “international culture.” At Artists Space, she exhibited two large paintings – one of a flag with a smaller painting of a cross appended at the top left corner, the other featuring a giant letter “M” with the word “MANNA” written across the top and bottom – as well as a series of smaller gouache drawings. The work revisits a conversation about representation and surface initiated by Jasper Johns’ flag and target paintings of the 1950s, while carrying it in a new direction by eliminating tactility and proposing the sign itself as a surface. The signs in her paintings are recognizable yet ambiguous, confluences of religious, nationalistic, and corporate idioms.
Lemieux had received her B.F.A. in painting at Hartford Arts School four years earlier in 1980, before moving to New York. At the time of her show, she was working as an assistant for David Salle, who selected her. She had recently been in an accident in which she was struck by a car, an event that necessitated a turning point in her practice: “[The accident] forced me to make smaller, more manageable work. I had to come up with other ways of expressing my ideas. That’s when I realized I could use photographs, found objects, and painting.”