Anne Lemanski Expands Sightlines in “Simulacra”

Anne Lemanski Expands Sightlines in “Simulacra”

Simulacra Exhibition, McColl Center

A view of Anne Lemanski's "Simulacra" exhibition at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Photo: Courtesy of McColl Center

Simulacra is a Latin term for ‘simulated,’” Anne Lemanski says, referring to the title of her latest exhibition. “It sort of encapsulates everything that my sculpture has been about up to this point, but I could never put a word to it.”

Lemanski has become known for life-sized animal sculptures made of vintage found materials sewn over meticulously formed copper-rod armatures. And while similar pieces are featured in “Simulacra,” the show marks a distinct change in her process and presentation, thanks in part to a 10-week residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

From a practical standpoint, the residency wouldn’t be enough time to create one of Lemanski’s characteristic sculptures, so instead she turned to collage. Her source: science and nature encyclopedias that she has been collecting for the past 25 years.

“I just sat down with my encyclopedias and started cutting out images,” she says.

At first she experimented with placing the images on landscape backgrounds, but that felt too literal. Then she remembered a 1959 mathematics book in her collection with blue inside covers featuring geometric line drawings resembling mathematical figures.

“It was like, ‘Yowza, that’s it,’ ” she says. “I just went crazy. I was on this adrenaline high making these collages. I barely stopped to eat.” I got 12 of them done by the end of my residency.”

Then, with access to printing and scanning technology, she was able to enlarge some of the images from her collages and use them as the skins for her large animal sculptures, uniting the new collage work with her more established sculptural work – now with custom skins that Lemanski has designed herself.

“I literally took the original 4-inch-tall impala and blew that up to fit,” she says. “So it’s all becoming this cohesive idea rather than this singular animal or object on a pedestal.”

In this new cohesiveness between collage and sculpture, Lemanski is excited about sharpening the message she’s been relaying all along.

“I feel like I’ve already made a huge leap,” she says. “I think what I’m trying to do is have people take a look at the picture as a whole. From an ant to a human being, it’s all related.”

"Simulacra" is on view at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation through January 2, 2016.