Contemporary Art,

Eugene Lemay

United States 1960


Eugene Lemay
Eugene Lemay
United States
February 9, 2015
Music, Gestalt, .

Eugene Lemay an American artist best known for his series Strata, Letters, and Navigator of large inkjet prints of rich landscapes which expose the root of written language as a metaphor for the human need to communicate.

He was born in 1960 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to a large Christian-Arab family. In the mid-sixties, his mother Shirley, a Lebanese-Syrian, and his father Joseph of French-Canadian decent, moved his family into a predominantly black neighborhood as an act of solidarity with the civil rights movement.

The move to a new country entailed confronting a foreign language and unfamiliar cultural codes, which resulted in conflicting identities that became a fixture of young Lemay’s world. In 1979 he enlisted in the Israeli military, where he served in a combat unit fighting in the First Lebanon War. It was during this war that he found himself confronting his past in a way that he could not have imagined. His unit took control of the Lebanese village of Tebnine, hometown of Lemay’s maternal grandfather. Upon his discharge from the army he spent another year in Kibbutz Sarid, Sarid, before returning to the United States.

On tall wall-hung panels, on rows of 3-foot-high slabs resembling Minimalist sculpture, even on the screens of electronic devices, the artist imitates the look of writing while simultaneously foreclosing its syntactic structure and communicative drive. More accurately, Lemay changes the function of language from clear and precise articulation of facts, feelings, and interpretations to an invocation of mystery—a kind of modern-day writing on the wall. The near-words and pseudo-sentences imply that the speaker-writer has much to say—much that has been seen and assimilated, much that is welling up emotionally from within—yet chooses to withhold and disguise what may be too painful to impart, too inchoate to process, too dangerous to acknowledge.

Lemay was named to Art & Auction magazine’s Power 100 list. He has exhibited in solo shows at Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea, Total Arts Gallery in Dubai and Galeria De Art in Buenos Aires as well as a group show at Art Affairs Gallery in Amsterdam and others.

The artist currently lives and works in New Jersey.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Land PromisedMana Contemporary, Chicago, ILGroup
2014Strata IIGalerie Nosbaum & Reding, LuxembourgSolo
2013ObsessionMana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJGroup
2013StrataMana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJSolo
2013LettersZemack Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, IsraelSolo
2013LettersUmm El-Fahem Gallery, Umm El-Fahem, Israel Solo
2012New Acquisitions and PrintsEileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Jersey City, NJnGroup
2012Artprize 2012Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MIGroup
2012NavigatorMike Weiss Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2010Neighbors, Works on PaperArt Affairs Gallery, Amsterdam,nNetherlandsGroup
2010NeighborsWorks on Paper, Art Affairs Gallery, Amsterdam,nNetherlandsGroup
2010TerrainsTotal Art Gallery, Dubai, UAESolo
2008Territories92nd Street Y Weill Art Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2007VisionariesThe Makor/Steinhardt Center 92Y Tribeca, New York, NYGroup
2006TerritoriesMilk Gallery, Milk Studios, New York, NYSolo
2005Poles Apart/Poles Together installation on the Grand Canal for the 51st Venice BiennaleGroup
2005The International Artists’ MuseumMuseo Storico Navale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2005The International Artists’ MuseumMuseo Storico Navale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2005Tree for Life GalaJewish National Fund, Long Island, NYGroup
2005For Given, Rider Art Project New York After the Light, Andy Warhol factory, New YorkGroup