Gay Outlaw Mutable Object
Using printmaking, photography and sculpture, San Francisco-based artist Gay Outlaw explores the balance between the organic and the geometric, as well as the relationship of photographic imagery to three-dimensional form. This publication accompanies an exhibition of recent sculpture and photographic assemblage at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
Softcover, 48 pages. With a foreword by Jill Hartz and an essay by Constance Lewallen.
Read a staff review:
San Francisco-based artist Gay Outlaw is a sculptor, printmaker, and photographer known for using unusual materials and incorporating a wry sense of humor into her art. Included in the exhibition and reproduced in this catalog are recent sculptures and a series of photographs that have “puddles” of cast glass collaged onto their surfaces. The colorful glass partially obscures the photograph, and creates a dynamic exchange between the two- and three-dimensional elements. One photograph, for example, is of a potted cactus that is partly covered by a light pink pool of glass. It looks like a pink liquid was spilled and then frozen on top of the photo. The glass acts as a physical censor; the viewer cannot see what is underneath. Is the puddle accidental, or is it purposeful to cover something up?
Constance Lewallen’s essay is a brief but in-depth look at Outlaw’s trajectory as an artist. Influenced by artists Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse, Outlaw has experimented with uncommon materials throughout her career. These include rubber hoses, pencils, caramel, and cake along with more conventional media such as glass, plastic, and metal. Her early sculptures were sometimes made with food items such as fruitcake or puff pastry; she used expertise she learned from attending the La Varenne cooking school in Paris. Her recent sculptures, however, are formal constructions made of industrial bronze, aluminum, and wood. The catalog’s pages show multiple views of the work, allowing for a feeling that the reader is walking around the piece in a gallery setting. A few closeup shots give detailed views of the sculptures, focusing on the textures of the different surfaces. One intriguing sculpture, Abyss, is made of bent wood, glass, epoxy, paint, and steel. It is a conical shape, hangs from the ceiling, and has a bright red and green interior, contained in a smooth navy outer shell. The inner surface of the shape is textured like sugar. It is, in reality, crushed glass covered by epoxy. There is a dark, swirling abstract design underneath the glittering layer. The piece is mysterious and beckoning, like a portal to another dimension.
Unafraid of risk, Gay Outlaw approaches a broad range of materials with a playful and inventive outlook. The work in this exhibition catalog sparks curiosity, and the essays are an informative introduction. Gay Outlaw Mutable Object offers an insightful glimpse into the artist’s whimsical world of sculptures and assemblages.