Brooklyn-based designer Katie Stout (b. 1989) creates work that is as an extraordinary amalgam of traditional craft techniques, the legacy of female-dominated decorative arts and conceptual art. With every piece, Stout arrives at something that is complex and unexpected: an end-product that deconstructs traditional processes and transcends the object’s function and form.
Born in Portland, Maine, Stout grew up in New Jersey and holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her practice is shaped by an urge to subvert utilitarian forms, just past the threshold of comfortability. Stout’s iconic ceramic Girl lamps reflect this multidisciplinary approach as they challenge standards of beauty and luxury, while referencing themes rooted in the history of art and design.
Stout’s body of work expands beyond lighting to seating, shelving, mirrors, carpets and curtains, incorporating materials such as clay, bronze and glass. With the intention to peel back layers of seriousness often associated with design, Stout uses traditional materials to create non-traditional forms, pushing the boundaries of what is expected and acceptable.
Stout’s dynamic practice embraces the formal qualities of design, fine art, and fashion and is inspired by an eclectic spectrum of references, from decorative arts and the intricate patterns of Victorian lace to kitsch suburban interiors and female-dominated craft traditions, such as pottery and textile work. Stout interprets and combines these varied aesthetic and conceptual threads through her own distinctive lens to produce unique works that subvert and dismantle traditional frameworks and understandings of functional objects. In instances, her works are imbued with an effortless and carefree humor, while others carry an incisive critique of outmoded stereotypes on everything from the decorative arts to gender roles. Layered and intricate, Stout’s approach and vision evade clear definition, as she moves freely across the ideas, materials, and techniques that spark her interest.
Stout’s work can be found in museums and private collections across the globe, including the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY. Upcoming projects include a second solo exhibition with R & Company in 2022, which will feature new monumental work in ceramic, glass and bronze created with the century-old foundry, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, in Milan, Italy.