Katie Stout: Klown Town
February 10 - April 21, 2022
64 White Street
On February 10, R & Company will open its second solo exhibition of work by acclaimed designer Katie Stout, highlighting her singular vision and iconic aesthetic vocabulary. The exhibition features Stout’s first major body of bronze works inlaid with vibrantly colored and finely crafted ceramic details. The series is a significant evolution in Stout’s practice, capturing the way she continues to create new possibilities in ceramics by embracing and working intuitively across media. The bronze works, which include a monumental cabinet and selection of standing and hanging illuminated sculptures, reflect an important breakthrough moment and are sure to compel those familiar and new to her practice. The bronzes will be shown alongside a range of distinctive, large-scale ceramic pieces, reflecting a longstanding dialogue across the designer’s work. The exhibition will remain on view through April 22, 2022.
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.
“R has been collaborating with Katie since 2017, and we continue to be inspired and excited by the boundlessness of her work. Driven by expansive vision and ambition, her work is an embodiment of the ongoing erosion between creative disciplines, resulting in lighting, seating, and sculptural objects that are incredibly rich in color, texture, and personality, as well as intricate and unexpected in form. This dynamism is the reason why people gravitate toward Katie’s work, and it’s been a great pleasure to introduce new audiences to her practice, while continuing to grow her diverse collecting base,” said Zesty Meyers, Principal at R & Company.
Stout’s approach to making is intuitive. As her vision for each piece develops, forms can transform multiple times, organically evolving into beautifully unexpected works. This process is exemplified in the richly designed bronze and ceramic works in the exhibition, which Stout executed in collaboration with the more than 100-year-old Italian foundry, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia. Among the works is a monumental cabinet that exemplifies the way Stout sculpts, molds, assembles, disassembles, and refines her work—creating a categorically contemporary interpretation of a functional object using ancient materials and techniques. Richly embellished with her signature ceramic pieces, the cabinet is a formal and conceptual masterpiece that is quintessentially Katie Stout. Like this piece, all of the bronze works become jewelry for the home, with ceramics set like gems in bronze bezels woven into beautifully cast frameworks.
The ornately detailed bronzes are presented in dialogue with a selection of wondrous illuminated pendants and unique side tables accentuated with large fruits and vegetables that appear to be growing out of their interiors—a flourishing and unexpected surprise. A group of slab floor lamps and a side table offer a dynamic contrast to the other work, conveying greater minimalism, solidity, and economy of form. Together, the range of featured objects offer visitors a spectacular look into the diversity and complexity of Stout’s practice, highlighting her artistry and the compelling freedom that she brings to her work.
“With this new body of work Katie has again successfully challenged the notions and definitions of what we think of as design. The work in bronze brings another layer to her already extensive practice, subverting tradition and demonstrating her virtuosity once again,” said Evan Synderman, Principal at R & Company.