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Laconia Gallery


The Mimih Effect on Me

Liette Marcil

Friday, September 7, 2012 to Sunday, October 21, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, September 7, 5:30-8pm

abstract painting by Liette Marcil

Laconia Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Liette Marcil. Marcil creates exuberant, lyrical works using patterning and an intuitive color sense to reference the abstractions of aboriginal cultures. Born in Montreal, Canada and a Laconia Resident since 2005, her work reveals her own connections to Native American culture (her father is part Native American) along with a keen interest in the repetition and directness of Northern Australian Aboriginal art and other “primitive” cultures, where the artist says “abstraction originated”.

Drawing with pencil and pastel onto flat areas of mixed media oil or acrylic Marcil embraces a playful open-minded creative process. Using a consistent scale and a dulled out, earthy palette the artist generates complex compositional shifts which reference printed textiles and pottery while hand drawn elements retain a childlike casualness. Color and outline drive the shifting foreground and background relationships. Chance and experimentation team up with an esoteric confidence that uses the serial format to create both a context and a subtle narrative.

Years of studying Native American pottery and the spiritual beliefs of the Amhem Land of North Western Australia has led Marcil to create her own poetic interpretations of the symbolic language of the Mimih spirits. In addition to having a sort of parallel existence and social structure to the peoples of Northern Australia, the Mimih are said to have taught mankind both dance and painting as well as game hunting.

“The Mimih Effect on Me” series has sustained the artist for over 4 years. The exhibition focuses on new large canvases and panel works as well as numerous studies and works on paper. To give context to the current works examples of tiles and a few masks trace the early evolution of the use of flat color and serial mark making in response to ancient cultures and myths.

Stylistically, they are usually depicted with very slender bodies and impossibly thin necks that require them to seek shelter from the slightest wind. A carved example of a Mimih figurative sculpture from the artist’s collection is on view for reference. These abstracted figures appear in most of Marcil’s work against a shifting background of puzzle piece forms that allow only a shallow space for these Mimih to assemble.
Standing side by side in rows and reduced into mostly geometric forms, the tall stacks of decorated blocks tilt and squeeze in an uneasy balancing act.

Some areas appear translucent allowing the patterned backdrop to show through their bodies. Other figures seem to sway or lean perilously in the wind–somewhat animated but not convincingly alive. As depicted by Marcil Mimih characters become a playful exercise in abstraction through an evocative use of color and vibrant patterning.

– James Hull, Exhibition Organizer