By Shawn Van Sluys
Citing the late art historian and critic, Sir Ernst Gombrich, Robert Lemay investigates the play of light and shadow in his exquisite oil paintings of still-lifes. But this interest in dramatic light is not exclusively aesthetic. For Lemay, light and drapery imbue the still-life with a spiritual significance similar to still-lifes of the Baroque era that were memento moris - reminders of the brevity of life. Lemay refers to his works as "residual altars of still-life" in which fabric is draped over the pedestal as a ceremonial vestment. Strong light falls across crisp, white drapery, starkly contrasting with the elegance of the fruit and flowers. The somber mood is further enhanced by the inclusion of an abstracted skull in several of his most recent works. Lemay's work hangs in the Canadian Embassies in Beijing and Australia. His exhibition titled A Trace of Offerings opens May 24, 2003, at the Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton.