Emily Lanctot, Deo Gallery’s December Exhibit Artist, lives and works in Marquette, Michigan, where she is the Curator of Collections and Outreach at NMU’s DeVos Art Museum and teaches in the Foundations program at the School of Art and Design.
“I studied biology and languages before earning a BFA in Art & Design and an MFA in Studio Art. I value education tremendously, and I love teaching at NMU. Being a Museum Director and Curator allows me to learn from artists and share their practices.”
“This series of work in the Deo Gallery, “People, Secrets, and Snacks,” focuses on portraiture – a subject that manifests differently and frequently in my practice. I placed a call on social media asking artists and art supporters to fill out a questionnaire, and in exchange, my friend Pearl Mildred Painter would paint a portrait of them. Pearl (Mildred) Painter is a painter, and I thought it would be fun to revisit painting in collaboration with them. The paintings are representational, but we have taken a lot of liberties.”
“Several years ago, I created installations of photographs and objects that served as portraits of people, while another series of portraits focused on peoples’ Amazon Wishlists. The Wishlist Series depicted subjects’ desires as well as aspirational – wishlists revealed what each sitter wanted to own, learn, or make.”
“I regularly draw and make collages. My interest in collage and drawing stems from a love of language – both literal and visual, design, advertising, and a fascination with the banal – all of those everyday moments and things that are anti-monumental. Whether completed yesterday or a century ago, the design speaks to a way of living in a specific moment. Advertising has always shown us how to escape the banal and elevate the everyday. It points out what is available for us to desire.”
During this past summer, Lancot has created three different series in two exhibitions. A collage series, “Secure Spaces,” displayed mass-produced homes and security envelopes to produce new layered narratives.
“For some folks, having a house, an education, or a car means having security. For others, having these exact things may be a reminder of how close they are to losing them.”
In a drawing series called “Ingredients,” Lanctot focused on recipes and vintage food photography, relying on the nostalgic nature of food and recipes to create an emotion-filled display.
“The drawings in the “Ingredients” series stem from looking through old recipe cards and cookbooks. The accompanying food images demonstrate domestic marvels and foretell the delicious photographs that we see on Instagram today. They amplify and shine up simple ingredients to create a kind of desire. The images I’m referencing are of a particular vintage and therefore can conjure feelings of nostalgia. The drawings aim to show that recipes can be a conduit that reminds us of special meals shared. They are evidence that we can choose to see or see through the magic.”
“In General” was a recent watercolor series done by Lanctot, displayed in Eagle Harbor, Michigan.
“I had recently talked to someone who mentioned they brought their child, born not long before the pandemic, to a grocery store for the first time. The infant was mesmerized and fascinated by color, light, and sheer bounty of visual stimulation. Whenever I visit a new town, I pop into a supermarket or the drugstore to see what they stock. Grocery stores are collections of things that tell a story about a place and give insights into local taste. Throughout the past couple of years, the grocery store remained one of the very few sites of social activity. This series considers the language and possibilities of consumption through paintings on imagined labels of canned goods.”
“I ask questions of everything and everyone. Being an artist gives you permission and access to all sorts of things that might be perceived as off-limits. I used to tell myself that I couldn’t do work unless I had long periods. I needed four consecutive hours to make anything. Then, I realized that I could start a painting today, work on it a little more tomorrow, and perhaps finish it the day after that. Sometimes, we tell ourselves things that create unnecessary limitations.”