Review: Pat Lay at Aljira
Join Pat Lay and Guest Curator Lilly Wei In Conversation with Aljira Visiting Curator Dexter Wimberly
review by Kasia Skorynkiewicz
As I walked into Aljira art gallery in Newark, NJ to see Pat Lay’s newest exhibition, I was immediately greeted by a creature standing about the height of a human but made of tripod legs, an abundance of electrical wires, and other computer parts. The only human element was a silver face emerging out of the forest of black cords. Though there was something foreign about this piece it also felt very much familiar at the same time. And that’s when I realized that I just stepped into Pat Lay’s world.
Perhaps this wasn’t one of Lay’s most important pieces in the collection but it was an indication of what was to come. The gallery was intermingled with wall pieces that were made up of brightly colored symmetrical patterns, which conveyed a sense of playfulness, but the systematic pattern transmitted a rigid and controlled feel. Mixed within these technological components were human elements in the form of silver heads fired from clay that were also composed of more computer parts. And even further into the gallery, the clay component becomes more prominent with many sculptures being made from clay. Though those sculptures seem to concentrate on formal questions, they also seem like they could be creatures that exist in this futuristic hybrid world that Lay is investigating.
I gravitate from on piece to another as if I were a pinball inside a machine, bouncing from one piece to another. Though at first, the pieces seem entirely different, they actually link two worlds together, the past and the present. Lay intertwines the old and the new in a refreshing way. The old is underlined by the use of clay, which still struggles between high and low art. Lay pushes the boundaries of where the human experience ends and where technology begins. Perhaps this hybrid world is our future, where we are interconnected as both human and machine. As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed Lay’s vivid and hybrid portrayal on the human experience. Whether it is the future world, it’s still a place that remembers it’s past but embraces the future. Pat Lay’s world bends the grid with this exhibition bringing the past, the present, and the future into one interwoven experience.