Throughout her career, Katie Stout has continually redrawn conventional boundaries between art and design, using function as the starting point for exquisitely crafted sculptural works. For her first exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan, “Verdant Malformations,” from April 4 – May 1, 2021, Stout developed a new group of her iconic “Lady Lamps.” In this iteration, her intricately sculpted works are rendered in glass, ceramic, and bronze, elements introduced into the series for the first time.
Stout’s sculptures, referencing the excessive detail of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s still-life portraits and the dystopian visions of Hieronymus Bosch, evoke states of material decay and regeneration. Her over-ripe, perishing natural forms serve as memento mori, but also as a reminders of life’s resilience. Bold but delicate, Stout’s constructions advance her ongoing exploration of the female form as a site upon which our culture enacts its preoccupations with ornament, allure, and value.
The “Lady Lamp” sculptures on view—figurative womanly depictions characterized by playful, provocative body positions that simultaneously convey animation and provide structural support—are representative of Stout’s broader practice. As with all of the artist’s work, the vibrantly colored objects on view at Venus Over Manhattan are inflected with both joy and degrees of pathos achieved through irregularity of form.
“Verdant Malformations” will also debut new small-scale sculptures referred to by Stout as “wall jewelry” —accretions that commute the artist’s chosen materials of bronze and glass beyond the physical confines of her lamps, in order to engage the space around them.
About Katie Stout
Katie Stout (b. 1989, Portland, ME) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is at the forefront of a generational shift towards a maximalist, expressive mode in sculpture and design. In refusing to reside in one category, her work transcends the longstanding debate about the boundaries between art and design. In particular, Stout’s work reinforces her commitment to the centrality of craft in contemporary art.
Regarded as one of the leading designers of her generation, Stout has exhibited her work at institutions including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, and the Swiss Institute. Her work has featured in major group exhibitions, including recent presentations at Jeffrey Deitch, Tina Kim, Nina Johnson, Friedman Benda, and R & Company. She is represented by Nina Johnson and R & Company. Her work is held in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Museum of Art and Design, New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California.