Born in Montreal, Martine Lemieux grew up in Germany, the United States and Quebec. After graduating in fashion design, she designed her clothing line for several years, followed by collaborative work with manufacturers and retailers. Eventually, the confines of the commercial fashion market left her feeling creatively unfulfilled; she then turned to painting, a medium she had worked with prior to fashion. From there, she soon made the transition to a visual art form using clothing as her medium. Décousue exemplifies the bridge between the two aesthetic forms of expression that are art and fashion.
The artist systematically works with consumed clothes, giving them a new history. Her merging of different textiles represents the webs of our lives, paths and relationships. It embodies the links of interdependence that are at the foundations of our existence. Her works illustrate the need to associate with a group, a family, and the need for physical proximity to those we hold dear. They represent a human dance. The monochrome palette used in her work communicates an ideal of harmony and integrity, the desire to surround oneself with people that share similar values.
In her works, a color coding established itself intuitively. Black is chic, conservative and neutral, while also being very anonymous. White calls to mind a certain tension, purity. It is in some way the absence of color: non-fashion. Timeless, light and feminine, its luminosity evokes hope. Denim looks more masculine and represents universality, accessibility and durability.
Topstitching symbolizes energy currents, exchanges and connections, underlining the inevitability of attachment. Like the links in a social fabric, without seams and topstitching, clothes wouldn’t exist.
The work of Martine Lemieux invites reflection on our society. It arises from our overconsumption, which supplies her with raw material. In a culture where fashion changes at an ever-increasing pace, we are constantly shopping for the latest trends in a bid to renew our identity. In the words of Barbara Kruger, “I shop, therefore I am.”