Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Bending the Grid: Pat Lay: Myth, Memory and Android Dreams. This major survey exhibition highlights more than four decades of 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 exhibition demonstrates the breadth and prescience of Lay’s vision. It’s very expansiveness – including the combining of art and science – is a subject in itself, as is its tilt toward diverse forms, materials and content. 

Pat Lay, photo credit: Robert H. Douglass

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.


“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 Pat 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.

Pat Lay Transhuman Personae #11 (detail), 2010 Fired clay, graphite and aluminum powders, acrylic medium, computer parts, cable, wire, tripod 75 x 46 x 46 in.


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.


Saturday, March 12, 2016, 2–3:30pm:

In Conversation with Visiting Curator Dexter Wimberly:

During this talk, Pat Lay and Guest Curator Lilly Wei will discuss the cultural influences that inform Lay’s work as well as Lay’s commitment to the experimental, multidisciplinary, hybridized works featured in Myth, Memory and Android Dreams

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 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. 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 and Swenson.