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In this series of process-based works, Curt LeMieux alludes to the tragedy of petroleum spills, the repetitive and catastrophic insult to life that has become so commonplace as to become iconic of the earth’s demise. Indeed, LeMieux’s drawings suggest the ready association we make with black blots and blobs as near brandings of our apocalyptic dalliances. Yet, the artist’s use of industrialized household materials, evidence of the private sphere and the exploitative practices that provide for it, subtly plays upon the easy turn of comfort to revulsion when life intrudes into the ideal and the language of protest becomes insignia of blame.

A black stain seems to spontaneously spread within a white linen dinner napkin, imitative of the oil spill’s necrotic process; a pillowcase is hacked apart, its fragments stuck to paper with black enamel then elevated with silver leaf; surfaces are scored and dug out with dots and bent geometric forms that impose a geographical scheme over green and black globs, a containment language and hit list that seems to shift over the series, which, taken as a whole looks like a map book of missing places.

The idea of disaster’s commonplace imposed upon an art historical premise—in LeMieux connection with arte povera and post-modernist influences--is unsettling in its eerie familiarity. We’ve been here before. The forced adherence of destroyed domestic materials, notably white, to archival art materials through the stickiness of product and productivity makes one wonder whether artists’ protests against corporate practices are nullified by their own industries. A sense of deadpan accusation crops up. The repetition necessary to LeMieux’s process mirrors a chain of events that lead one’s enterprise outward while reflecting inwardly on a range of questions that threaten to reveal one’s own hand in a landscape of complicity and outrage.

Asher Hartman, December 2010.