• By: Samantha Lapierre

The Great Works of Marisa Gallemit

“Big Red.” Photo courtesy of Jackpine

Marisa Gallemit is a bilingual woman of color, a visual artist and she can make a mean ‘Old Fashioned’ upon request.

Tabarnac photo by Remi Theriault
“Tabarnac.” Photo courtesy of Remi Theriault

Always fascinated by visual language, Gallemit studied film theory at Carleton University, and has also studied film production at the prestigious New York Film Academy.

Gallemit stumbled upon her unique creative vision while owning a bike shop. She loved to change flat tires for customers, but noticed that the flat tubes would be discarded week after week.

Gallemit decided to put the tubes to use, and this was the beginning of Gallemit’s love story with bike tubes and the unconventional as pieces for her art. Gallemit has since used bike tubes to make over a dozen bike tube feathered wings.

Deconstructing discarded items is what Gallemit does best. In the past, she had used her old student films, her wedding dress, a friend’s tuxedo and debris from past relationships as items for her work.  

Wings photob by Jackpine
“Wings.” Photo courtesy of Jackpine

“I am into the notion that objects are imbued with life, and I am trying to tap into that inherent material energy when I make things,” Gallemit says.

Gallemit says that her art is autobiographical, serving as a snapshot of her life when they were conceived.

Gallemit’s recent installation, the Cheerleader Project, was shown at Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau, as well as the Ottawa Art Gallery. The project was born out of an attempt to shake off a creative dry spell that Gallemit had experienced. Gallemit explains that the piece became a physical representation of her reclaiming her artistic imagery.

Materiality is the drive behind Gallemit’s work. Gallemit describes the items she uses as ones that are products of a modern, industrialized, and consumer society. Gallemit hopes that her deconstruction and reconstruction of these materials can serve as a reminder of unrestraint and ease.

Inspired by female artists such as Rebecca Horn, Sheila Hicks, Ruth Asawa and Ursula Johnson, Gallemit loves artists who use fibre and sculpture in astonishing ways.

Cheerleader Project 2 photo by Julia Forrester
“Cheerleader Project.” Photo courtesy of Julia Forrester

One look at Gallemit’s art, and you can see that Gallemit loves using objects in astonishing ways, too.

Gallemit is fond of Ottawa and the dedicated and supportive artists who call it home.

“I feel deeply committed and engaged with our community here. It’s a challenge being an artist in a (by-and-large) conservative government town, but despite that there is a wealth of big talent here. And more than that there is a lot of heart.”

From the artist run-centers and jam spaces to Ottawa’s large galleries, Gallemit says that she feels lucky to live in an area that provides opportunities to learn and grow.

Gallemit admires a wide variety of local artists, including visual artists Drew Mosley, Rémi Theriault, Amy Thompson, Melanie Authier, and Maura Doyle, to filmmakers Travis Boisvenue, Michael Ostroff, Ariel Smith and Lesley Marshall.

Cheerleader Project photo by Julia Forrester
“Cheerleader Project.” Photo courtesy of Julia Forrester

Currently, Gallemit is working on a public art installation for the City of Mississauga with Michael Simon and Taline Jirian for late November. The installation involves over 50 oak trees and 50,000 feet of parachute cord. It is Gallemit’s biggest project to date, and is sure, as always, to amaze.

You can find more information about Gallemit by visiting her website.