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Left Right Left Right

Annette Lemieux

American, Born 1957

Left Right Left Right 1995
Master printer - Kevin Garber
Photo lithograph
Museum Board, wood
108"h x 189"w
Ed. 3
 
 
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Continuing the trend of attracting important artists, the Washington University Collaborative Printmaking Workshop opened the year of 1995 by hosting Annette Lemieux.(1)The work that she produced, Left Right Left Right, addressed the issue of social protest, a topic for which Lemieux was well known. Each installation actually consisted of ten different images printed three times for a total of thirty prints. Because it was so labor intensive, the decision was made to limit the edition size to three. The images were essentially photolithographs of people raising a fist, seemingly in protest. Sources for the fists included Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Nixon, Miss America, and other lesser-known personalities. These images, printed on thick museum board to resemble typical protest signs, were mounted onto wooden stakes that were leaned against a wall when the entire piece was installed. While each raised fist appears to signify solidarity in social protest when seen in this context, in its initial context the sentiments may have been quite different. While Left Right Left Right may not have broken new ground regarding its production techniques, this was the first installation piece to be produced by the print shop and certainly its most ambitious in scale if one considers the total area needed to exhibit it. When comparing Lemieux’s piece with the more conventional work done at WUCPW throughout the 1980s, a new focus in both appearance and content becomes apparent. Arguably, the work was among finest that Kevin Garber helped to produce as a master printer at WUCPW.

One of the students who worked on Lemieux’s prints was Tom Huck.(2) He had been attracted to the Department because of the big presses, the opportunity to work with visiting artists, and the experimental reputation that the press was developing. To Huck, WUCPW was a place that was "able to embrace tradition but also explore new possibilities…. you could draw on prints, they were not religious about conventional prints as being the end all of production." Additionally, as a student he saw people making art for a living and realized that maybe it was possible to be a professional artist. Working with Lemieux was an impressive experience for Huck. "She is about producing work about your own existence and how you relate to your real world," he remarked.(3) "Art is about your political thoughts and the relationship of them to your work. Lemieux was fun to work with and she treated the people who were printing with her as her equal." Notably, the students at WUCPW were not just insignificant assistants. Rather, they were expected to work alongside the master printers. This type of experience certainly accelerated the learning curve of many aspiring printmakers.

Marilyn Kushner
Curator and Chair of the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photograph
Brooklyn Museum of Art
 
1 Island Press was originally known as the Washington University Collaborative Printmaking Workshop until the name was changed in 1996.
2 Huck was a graduate student in printmaking from 1993 to 1995. Huck’s later statements on this experience were made in a conversation with the author, November 28, 2001.
3 Huck’s own work is about culture and life in Potosi, Missouri, the small town where he grew-up.