Who said Disney was dead? Ysabel LeMay’s staggeringly beautiful photo-fusions, currently on view at Verve Gallery, prove otherwise.
Ysabel LeMay is a commercial graphic artist turned painter turned photographer. Each image is made up of hundreds of photographs, collaged together using Photoshop to create grand representations of nature, bounty, and beauty. Her work is more cinematic than painterly: each digital C-print has a plexi-face, whose glossy sheen intensifies the work’s decorative sensibility, and ultimately gives LeMay’s finished compilations a certain Disney utopia feel.
Ysabel LeMay, Wander, 2014, C-Print, 24 x 72 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography
In Wander, we peek through leafy branches at serene water as birds comingle and sweep through misty sprays. Each plant and animal adopts a character whose personality emerges via digital enhancement and thoughtful positioning. While the individual photographs used to compile the whole aren’t necessarily distinguishable, the birds and wildlife that intertwine and overlap in LeMay’s work form make-believe paradises. The scenes do not logically make sense, but visually they are enjoyable and luscious vignettes. Whispers is a large vertical photograph with a gushing white waterfall boasting white flowers that sprinkle down amidst the droplets. It’s almost matrimonial, pure, and lacelike. Circa 1930 appears aged, compiled from splattered watermarks and weathered patches that encircle an incredible blush-colored bouquet brimming with the antiquated virtuosity of a classical still life.
Ysabel LeMay, The Transmitter, 2011, C-Print, 48 x 72 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography
LeMay’s landscapes do not show brush marks, and their surfaces are too glossy to be confused with oil painting, but their saccharine whimsy is reminiscent of Rococo and would not be entirely misplaced amid Fragonard’s flowering foliage. LeMay’s photographs are devoutly unpeopled, seeking instead to entertain an entirely unencumbered indulgence in nature.
Ysabel LeMay, Passing By, 2011, C-Print, 48 x 48 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography
Ysabel LeMay, Cosmic Nursery, 2014, C-Print, 48 x 63 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography
Ysabel LeMay, Nightlight, 2014, C-Print, 24 x 72 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography
[Image on top: Ysabel LeMay, Circa 1930, 2013, C-Print, 36x36"; Courtesy of the artist and Verve Gallery of Photography]