Emily Comeau is a Montreal-based conceptual fibre artist. Graduating from Concordia University with distinction, she holds a BFA with a specialization in Fibre Arts and was the 2009 recipient of the Prix Diagonale. Obtaining an Awesome Ottawa grant, she produced a living book arts sculpture in Ottawa’s acclaimed Art’s Court in 2010 with Canadian book artist and founder of The Paperhouse Studio, Emily Cook. As a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Costumes Studies program, her background in textiles, historical costumes, and costumes for theatre has provided her with a great variety of skills to draw from when dreaming up engaging fibre art creations. An emerging artist, she recently debuted a collection of her work in her first solo exhibition at the Ted T. Katz Family Trust Gallery at Centaur Theatre in Montreal. Her work strives to engage the senses in unexpected ways, and to challenge people’s expectations of textile-based art, making playful use of bright colours, interesting textures and combinations of elements that create cognitive dissonance. She exhibits regularly across Canada and the US.
My body of work is diverse, with materials ranging from glitter to plaster, canvas and string. Primarily process-driven, my work is often meticulously crafted, from the precise arrangement of millions of grains of iridescent plastic to obsessive collections of colourful string, engaging the senses in unexpected ways and challenging people’s expectations of textile art.
A strong element of play is a recurring theme for me but I often choose to present it in a format that invites cognitive dissonance. The works I am proposing to exhibit at your gallery pay tribute to treasured childhood craft activities and traditionally feminine leisure activities, evoking a sense of familiarity, playfulness and humour. By presenting these pieces hung on the wall, as paintings in a gallery setting, they explore the divide between high and low art while remaining whimsically approachable. This fusion of the accessible and the provocative is central to my art practice and I endeavour to always make art that is memorable without being alienating to the uninitiated.
Recently I have been experimenting with adding interactive electronic components to my work and am working on a series of pieces that use sound and proximity sensors to alter the artwork as the viewer interacts with it in a gallery setting. I am always striving to acquire new skills to better engage with my audience and create a unique and unexpected gallery experience.