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Bending the Grid: Pat Lay:
Myth, Memory and Android Dreams

January 21–March 19, 2016
Reception: January 28, 2016, 6–9pm

Guest Curator: Lilly Wei

Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Bending the Grid: Pat Lay: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams.This major survey exhibition presents for the first time a broadened view of Lay’s expansive vocabulary, in two and three dimensions, in a range of various media and styles, influenced by her extensive travels and informed by her overlapping art and non-art interests.

Tracing the trajectory of her development from 1969 to the present, with the emphasis on more recent work, Lay’s commitment to the experimental, the multidisciplinary and the hybridized is highlighted in this show, along with her interest in working with a wide range of materials. The earliest works are abstract, at times brightly colored, three dimensional wall pieces made from glazed fired clay, when clay was still generally discounted as a craft medium in this country; it would become one of her signature mediums.

In the last decade Pat Lay’s artwork has focused on technological metaphors of the human experience. In Lay’s collage works digital images scanned from computer circuit boards are transformed into a new matrix– a place, created in response to our world of technological advancement and digital progress.

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.

“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.

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. Her work has been included in group exhibitions in Japan, Austria, Korea, China, Norway, Wales and Slovakia and at the Jersey City Museum, Newark Museum, New Jersey State Museum, The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Montclair Art Museum, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Everson Museum, and the 1975 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lay’s work is featured in a number of books including Lives and Works, Talks With Women Artists, Volume II by J. Arbeiter, B. Smith, S. Swenson.

Inaugurated in 2003, Bending the Grid is a series which celebrates the successful careers of outstanding yet under-recognized national and international artists over the age of 65. Although the work of the featured artists often is grounded in formal concerns, the series focuses on the way each individual artist subverts or adapts these traditions to his or her own purpose. Artists included in the Bending the Grid series to date are Luis Cruz Azaceta, Frank Bowling, Judith K. Brodsky, Donald Locke, Miriam Beerman and Helen M. Stummer.

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. The exhibition will be on view at Aljira through March 19, 2016. A special series of limited edition prints by Lay will be available for purchase to benefit Aljira’s exhibitions and programs. On sale at shopAljira beginning January 21.

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