Luanne Martineau (1970-) was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Martineau studied art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Alberta College of Art & Design. She completed her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 1995. Martineau joined UVic’s Visual Arts Department in 2002.
Luanne Martineau, Parasite Buttress, 2005. Needle punch felt and mattress foam, installation dimensions variable. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.
Luanne Martineau’s densely layered sculptures relate to themes as diverse as comics, modernist abstraction, minimalism and feminism. Made out of raw wool, its thickness built up by the repeated jabs of a serrated needle, Parasite Buttress is a hybrid of feminized, aggressive handiwork and sculptural bravura that seethes with energy. Here, pink knots, twists and tiny braids erupt among what appear to be human fingers, mouths and toes to playfully combine what the artist terms “the heroic Vertical with the bestial Horizontal.” Referencing iconic works of modern art such as Robert Morris’ minimalist felt sculptures, postwar paintings by Philip Guston and, in particular, Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire, this limp architectural form refuses – or perhaps cannot sustain – its supporting role in the gallery.