Inscape: In the Depths of Joseph E. Yoakum's Landscapes
March 3, 2022- March 13, 2022
Lemaire at Galerie Derouillon
(Paris, France) — Following on from past collections, Lemaire continues to showcase visual and figurative motifs through capsule wardrobes that meld pictorial surfaces with the body in motion. This season, Lemaire pays homage to Native American folk artist Joseph E. Yoakum (1890–1972) through a series of exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo and Seoul. Inscape offers to travel through the vibrant drawings and tranquil landscapes of the artist.
Joseph Elmer Yoakum's (1891-1972) idiosyncratic view of landscapes is fueled by his travels across the world and his experience of World War I. The self-taught visual artist built a romantic postcard-inspired world, drawing more than two thousand immersive full-page landscapes from memory, which retrace his nomadic life spent visiting territories in the United States and abroad.
Collecting topographic data like a diligent surveyor, Joseph E. Yoakum operates on ordinary paper with ballpoint pens, colored pencils, pastels, or watercolors. His illustrated surveys delve deep into personal history, collective unconscious, and beyond. Part anatomical charts and part geological structures, the vernacular landscapes shown for the first time in France shape a notebook of intimate remembrances, open on a common horizon. Whether dreamed or real, the archaeogeographic drawings capture fragments of visited landscapes and reveal the perpetual movement of the artist's inner turmoil as much the scope of his shimmering travels.
Carried by remembrance and consisting of passages, undulations, folds, and borders, they are the reflections of a poetic and animist perception of the natural world, where the hemmed mountains look like brains, the soft rivers are blood flows, and the skies calm seas; where perspectives are radically flattened and the brightly colored patterns are tightly shaped.
A reminder of the depth of the landscapes that we live in and that live within us, Inscape invites us to stop following the constant flow of time, to let ourselves be subtly moved by the imaginary pace in an unstable labyrinthine space.
Joseph E. Yoakum
Joseph E. Yoakum offered only an elusive biography along with a brief and late career. He claimed mixed heritage - Native American through his parents from the Cherokee Nation, as well as African and American. He would refer to himself as the "Old Black Man" guided by God and claimed to have visited every continent — save Antarctica — "as a hobo and stowaway.": first as a child when he joined a circus, then as a young soldier during World War I (which took him to France), and later, alone, by train, across the Western United States, before settling in Chicago at the age of 70 and devoting himself to create art every day.
His work is currently held in several public collections and is the subject of numerous prestigious individual and group exhibitions, notably at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, which is presenting the artist's first major retrospective exhibition from November 28th, 2021, to March 19th, 2022, called Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw.
Lemaire has created series of light silk and cotton pieces with elemental forms, from the vibrant drawings of Native American folk artist Joseph Yoakum, whose tranquil landscapes were inspired by his travels. The wardrobe comprises a rectangle dress, a T-shirt dress, halternecks, shirts and accessories (quilted blanket-skirt, bag and scarf). It draws from the evocative poetic power of these faraway landscape-worlds with postcard titles: Mt. Galdhopiggen of Hardangervidda Glacier near Dombas, In Black Mountain Range Near Montgomery Alabama South, Mound Valley, Kansas and Mt. Lizard Head in San Juan Mtn Range near Silverton Colorado.
Produced by Lemaire at the occasion of the Lemaire & Joseph E. Yoakum Spring-Summer 2022 capsule collection, Inscape is supported by Anna Furney and the Venus Over Manhattan Gallery.
The Inscape exhibition will then travel to Tokyo and Seoul.