Lubber, 2003. Felt and wool, 152 x 427 x 183 cm. Photo: Tomas Svab, Vancouver Art Gallery

Material Resolution: A Conversation with Luanne Martineau

Luanne Martineau, who works in Montreal and teaches in the Painting and Drawing Department of Concordia University, uses felt, paper, and other textile-based processes to make objects and reliefs that combine a painterly sense of image and color with an often startling materiality. It all comes down, she says, “to one serrated needle.” Her powerful, complex, and engaging sculptural hybrids function as objects and images, engaging in social satire while critiquing the politics of the body and the ideals of Modernist taste. They can be abstract forms, or they can veer toward figuration and narrative, but they always display a high level of technical skill, art historical knowledge, conceptual rigor, and lots and lots of work. Labor is key to understanding Martineau’s work because she thinks quite literally in material, manipulating it with brain and hands to find meaning.

Ray Cronin: Sculpture today is very much a hybrid, incorporating techniques and materials from across various media—drawing, painting, video, fashion—almost anything really. How do feel about your work being talked about in terms of sculpture?
Luanne Martineau: The idea of parameters for sculpture, that there were certain kinds of baseline conversations to be had, or that had to be addressed, is really over. It’s much more the idea of part object, part sculpture—object-sculpture or sculpture-object. Things—things that are not flat-image-based—that’s where we’re at now . . .

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