Micah Lexier, Conceptual
Micah Lexier is an artist and curator based in Toronto. He received a BFA from the University of Manitoba and MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He is represented by Birch Contemporary. In 2015 he was awarded the Governor Generals Award for excellence in the Visual Arts. Lexier combines conceptual art with sculpture using ready-mades or materials prepared using industrial processes.
I moved back from New York for this apartment. I gave up my green card. My studio is more like a storage facility. I make my work at home, running back and forth between the scanner and the table.
New York was very traumatic. It was a black hole in my career, in a way. No one wanted what I had to offer, no one was interested in my work. When I was a young artist, I was very successful. I got shows and grants and public commissions. Then there was mid-career. I knew things were going to die down so I moved to New York. When you move, you have to rethink yourself. You don’t bring your reputation with you or your support systems. I learned that if no one cared what I was doing, then I should do what I want.
I’m at a really magical moment right now. I’ve made work for 35 years and there’s a certain confidence that comes with that. There’s less expectation, less determination about what a thing should be. My mantra is, ‘Let it make itself,’ which was also the subtitle of the show I curated within my exhibition at Power Plant Gallery. I let the show make itself.It was really a revelation. I realized that I can find things and simply present them. That’s why I love Instagram. It’s got a light touch and you can interact with a lot of people just to say, ‘I see this thing.’
To store my book collection, I got these storage units that have great big countertops. I started laying things down and the next thing I know, I have a museum of found stuff. A lot of it is art. There’s work by VSVSVS, Vanessa Maltese and an early David Altmejd. It’s arranged together with things from flea markets–there’s a stir stick from a recent plane ride that I took in Germany.
I have a cardboard collection. It’s organized by categories like: cardboard drawings made by cutting, cardboard with simple graphics no text, cardboard with text and words. My friends are a little tired of me because we’ll be driving and I’ll see a cardboard box and be like, ‘Just drop me off and go around the block and pick me up in a minute.’ I always carry a little penknife to cut stuff. It’s not the best penknife, but it’s better than a key.
–Micah Lexier, as told to Studio Beat
Photos by Lodoe Laura
Visit Micah Lexier’s website here.