Micah Lexier


Micah Lexier: Things Exist, Example No. 3 (detail, 2011): Found objects, Plexiglass, painted wood, foil-stamped matboard, graphite. Images courtesy Birch Libralato, Toronto.Micah Lexier: Things Exist, Example No. 3 (detail, 2011): Found objects, Plexiglass, painted wood, foil-stamped matboard, graphite. Images courtesy Birch Libralato, Toronto.

By Romas Astrauskas

Micah Lexier
Birch Libralato
October 19 – November 20, 2011

Throughout the entire history of humankind’s existence, the compulsion to create order and definition by arranging things has been a persistent and motivational impetus.  We stack, file, number, code and order whatever we can get our hands on, which gives us a sense of control over the uncontrollable; a thumbing of our noses at a universe that prefers to serve us dishes of unrelenting and merciless chaos. 

Micah Lexier: Things Exist, Example No. 22 (2011)Micah Lexier: Things Exist, Example No. 22 (2011)Micah Lexier has spent his career investigating these notions and systems of order and his latest show, Things Exist (the title a sentence fragment from French poet Stéphane Mallarmé) remains true to the concerns and interests often found in this artists’ oeuvre. The exhibition revolves, for the most part, around Lexier’s personal collection of scrap cardboard fragments. Collected over the years off the street by the artist, they represent (as a whole) all the little things that have captured the artists’ eye and imagination. Armed with a pocket knife, the artist has cut out and collected from curb-side cardboard all the symbols, letters, numerals and forms that we all see on the sides of boxes, but rarely pay attention to.

For the purpose of the exhibition, the artist took these isolated fragments and re-presented them as framed objects. Some of the cardboard pieces are presented alone, others in pairs alongside one another. The symbols and markings initiate mysterious, enigmatic dialogues between the two parts that, prior to the artists’ intervention, remained wholly unrelated. These symbols and markings, which originally existed solely as didactic, instructive elements became, without context, abstracted and stripped of all previous purpose. I was struck in many of the works by the degree of elegant beauty that could be wrung from such simple, base materials – a testament to the unnoticed poetry to be found in things that surround us daily.  The “readymade” (an artist simply re-presenting something that already exists) is nothing new – Duchamp did it with a bicycle wheel and more notoriously with a urinal early in the last century – but the contrariness and reactionary position of someone like Duchamp is nowhere to be found in these works.  Instead, we find an earnestness and refreshing sense of sincerity, one that invites the viewer in to the work rather than away from it.  From the onslaught of throwaways and trash that surround us, Lexier has ordered the elements to create a poetry that was otherwise never meant to be.

Romas AstrauskasRomas Astrauskas is a Toronto-based artist and writer. His paintings, sculptures and collages have been exhibited widely throughout the city, including shows at Greener Pastures, Clark & Faria, Clint Roenisch, LE Gallery and Ruins. His work is included in Like-Minded, a group show currently at Plug-In ICA in Winnipeg.