THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE WAY TO DESCRIBE THE WORK OF AUSTIN, TEXAS-BASED VISUAL ARTIST YSABEL LEMAY: W.O.W.
It stands for ‘Wonderful Other Worlds’, the panoramas of natural splendor she creates up through the process of hypercollage. Her composite landscapes, the real world remixed to paradisal perfection, are so vividly realized that one feels drawn not just to view but to step into them.
In 2010, LeMay was announced the winner of the KiptonART Rising Star Program, an initiative to promote and advance promising new artists. From that success followed over 70 exhibitions of LeMay’s work around the globe. Her work has been acquired for the corporate collections of Chevron, Johnsonville, Bloomingdale’s and Bacardi, to name a few. In 2013, LeMay participated in the Texas Biennial at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, and in 2015, she represents Texas at the fourth edition of Women to Watch, at Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Born and raised in Quebec, Canada, LeMay fastened her connection to the natural world as a small child, at her family’s secluded cottage in the north of the province. Though always most at peace in the wilderness, it is in the jungle of the advertising world that LeMay honed the craft of visual expression. Over the course of 15 years, she handled graphic design, art direction, and the operation of her own agency.
The moment came, though, when she sought a more rewarding and beneficial path for her creativity. LeMay refocused initially on painting and then photography, with which she would collect the raw materials for her digital collages. Traveling extensively, LeMay and her camera capture fragments of nature — plants, animals and the elements — constantly replenishing her voluminous visual catalog of the living world.
While her technique is high-tech, LeMay’s hypercollage process is highly instinctual and organic, allowing each piece to dictate its own destiny. From a single, simple starting point — an image, a color, an emotion — she follows a meticulous process. First isolating and extracting elements of her photos, LeMay then weaves these fragments together into intricate compositions of resplendent beauty.
Now approaching new technological horizons to present her work, LeMay nonetheless seeks authenticity of experience over novelty. She speaks effusively of the artists whose own work has inspired, informed and enriched her life. With the moments in time and spaces in the imagination she creates, she strives to do the same for anyone who will venture into her Wonderful Other Worlds.