“Bending the Grid: Pat Lay: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams,” showing now at Aljira, explores what it means to be human

art cardAljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is now presenting Bending the Grid: Pat Lay: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams. This major survey exhibition highlights more than four decades of sculptor Pat Lay‘s career. It presents, for the first time, a broad view of Lay’s expansive vocabulary in a range of various media and styles, influenced by her extensive travels and informed by her overlapping art and non-art interests.

The exhibit tracing the trajectory of her development from 1969 to the present, with the emphasis on more recent work, Lay’s commitment to the experimental, and her interest in working with a wide range of materials.

“From the beginning, it seems, Pat Lay has been fascinated by the unfamiliar, by cultures other than her own, especially from distant regions of the world. She was never dismissive of art that was free from European and American formulations, but was intrigued, instead, by its rich, often curious imagery and venerable histories, by its differences,” notes guest curator Lilly Wei. “Lay was also inspired by the many astonishingly talented, innovative women artists of the 1960s and 70s whose work broke new ground, addressing the same divide between the handiwork of what might be called ‘feminized’ pre-industrialized cultures and those of ‘masculine’ industrialized nations, between what was considered low and high art.”

In the past decade, Lay’s artwork has focused on technological metaphors of the human experience. Her sculptures, made of fired clay, computer parts and other ready-made elements, are hybrid, post human power figures that have cross-cultural references and question what it means to be human.

Aljira’s commitment to Lay is two-fold: first, to make the full range of this artist’s oeuvre more widely known; second, to acknowledge the generous contribution she has made to educating and promoting the work of young artists as a founder of the Master of Fine Arts program at Montclair State University.

Bending the Grid: Pat Lay: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams is documented by an illustrated catalog, including an essay by the guest curator Lilly Wei and an interview with independent art curator, writer and chairman of the board of Independent Curators International, Patterson Sims. Three limited edition prints by Lay, donated by the artist to benefit Aljira’s exhibitions and programs, will be available for purchase for a limited time during the exhibition. On sale at shopAljira (www.aljira.org) beginning January 21. The exhibition will be on view at Aljira through March 19, 2016.

A graduate of Pratt Institute and Rochester Institute of Technology, Lay is a retired Professor of Art at Montclair State University. Lay has received two grants in sculpture from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation. She has been awarded three public art commissions including the installation of a large-scale site-specific sculpture in the sculpture park at the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo, Norway. She has had solo exhibitions at the Jersey City Museum; New Jersey State Museum; and Douglass College, Rutgers University, and her work has been included in group exhibitions in countries all over Europe and Asia, as well as at top-tier museums in the region.

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