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KATY STONE LIGHT CURRENTS

March 12 – May 16, 2020


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RYAN LEE is pleased to announce Light Currents, an exhibition of new work by Katy Stone. Stone is known for her dynamic multi-layered installations that range in scale from the small and intimate to monumental public commissions. Continuing to work with duralar, aluminum, and dichroic plastic, Stone’s latest body of work pushes the limits of her industrial materials and probes the ethereality of her subject matter. Stone draws on a variety of conceptual source material: early twentieth-century abstraction, the Light and Space movement, and Immanence theory. Her materials allow for an exploration of geometric abstraction that is grounded in form, yet is expansive and mutable. In Sun Circle 2 (2019) strips of painted duralar rectangles are arranged in multiple layers to create a nea perfect circle. The resulting image is as much a combination of its geometric elements as the light it reflects and the shadows it casts. It is at once translucent and solid, evoking celestial energy through terrestrial forms. Light, time, cosmic forces, and natural phenomena become literal and metaphorical guides for Stone’s artistic meditations. Stone intentionally selects materials that are physically light and thin. The work in Light Currents, she explains, “explores both the idea of surface and field, an attitude of expansiveness that is rhizomatic, planar, infinite.” Clouds have become a recurring subject of interrogation for Stone for their embodiment of phenomena that is both unique in a moment, and ceaselessly cyclical. Clouds provided the point of reference for a series of painted metal works, cut into gestural arrangements that Stone refers to as Archipelagos (2018). In Book of Hours (2020), a series of vertical bands of painted duralar span a gallery wall, offering a vision of eight simultaneous slices of sunset, or perhaps the effects of time passing, frozen for a fleeting moment in a fragment of sky. In Light Currents, Stone’s works are equally engaged in the exploration of atmospheric phenomena and the materials she uses to recreate them.

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Katy Stone (b. 1969 Rockford, IL) is a sculptor and artist best known for her largescale public commissions. Working primarily in aluminum, duralar and plexiglass, Stone creates hybrids of sculpture and painting that combine the visual language of organic forms with industrial materials. Her work balances this monumentality and durability with a sense of motion and fragility. Each layered, cascading work consists of scores of drawn and hand-painted gestures that seem frozen in a moment of falling, fluttering, waving, crashing or exhaling. Over her career, she has developed an intricate vocabulary of line, shape, form and mark-making to blur the boundaries between traditional techniques of drawing, painting and sculpture. Stone received her MFA from the University of Washington. She has exhibited at Boise Art Museum; Boston University Art Gallery; Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art; McNay Museum of Art, San Antonio; Sun Valley Center, Ketchum; Missoula Art Museum; University of Richmond; and Watcom Museum of Art, Bellingham. Her work is held in the public collections of Boise Art Museum, City of Seattle, Iowa State University, McNay Museum of Art, Missoula Art Museum, and University of Michigan. Stone has completed major commissions at the Jackson Federal Courthouse, Jackson; The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas; Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Swedish Medical Center, Seattle; and Woodmont Library, Des Moines among others. Stone lives and works in Seattle, Washington.

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Installation views


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Works on view

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Sun Circle 2, 2020 Paint on duralar, pins 67 x 67 x 2 inches (170.2 x 170.2 x 5.1 cm) Sold

Delicate but bold and massed in thin layers, Sun Circle 2 omits an energy of its own that can be felt in its presence. Like many of the installations in this exhibition, this work possesses a meditative quality, inviting the viewer into a near-trance state. The hand-cut and hand-painted, imperfect rectangles stacked one on top of another create an energy between organic and geometric, between the human hand and the idealized. Some of the layers are so thin, they are like veils of light, giving the work a sense of permeability even as it seems to glow. Negative space within the composition takes on a color as well, creating a blueish purple hue. Sun Circle 2 encompasses how one can “experience� a color, going beyond just seeing it.

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Light Current (Portal), 2020 Dichoric pailettes, pins 102 x 222 x 1/2 inches (259.1 x 563.9 x 1.3 cm) $50,000

In Light Current (Portal), Stone creates a cosmic shape from thousands of dichroic paillettes pinned to the wall one by one. The composition was generated by manipulating a half-tone of one of the artist’s own digital drawings, resulting in a complete transformation of her artistic sensibility. This dynamic and dispersing form suggests a radiating sun, a field of energy, a void, or an opening, and because each paillette is hand-sanded they are all unique, heightening the work’s interaction with light. It differs depending on the time of day and angle from which it is viewed. Here, the movement characteristic in Stone’s practice is taken to a whole new level.

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Planet (Violet Hour), 2020 Oil on aluminum 57 x 57 x 1 1/2 inches (144.8 x 144.8 x 3.8 cm) Edition of 2 $18,000

Planet (Violet Hour) can be viewed as a formal companion to Light Current (Portal). Its composition is the opposite of a void, but still plays with the duality of both flatness and volume, and positive and negative space. The “Planet� shape is suggestive of continents breaking apart or melting, yet remains abstracted and unidentifiable. The layers of cut aluminum paired with the soft color transitions causes the viewer to question the physicality of what they are seeing.

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Transmission, 2020 Oil on aluminum 54 x 82 x 2 inches (137.2 x 208.3 x 5.1 cm) $24,000

Transmission is based on a calligraphic line from Stone’s earlier Cloud Island series. As the repeated gesture stacks up and layers, it projects further from the wall, seeming to float or pulse along on its own. The movement of these massed lines across the wall is like a transference of energy or an invisible force field, creating an illusion of sculptural volume as it appears to bend and fold.

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Archipelago 1, 2018 Oil on aluminum 31 x 82 x 1 3/4 inches (78.7 x 208.3 x 4.4 cm) Edition of 2 $14,000

Energetic and floating, Archipelago 1, 2, and 3 refer to clouds, bodies of water, and light. They stem from gestural experiments using the negative shapes left behind from an earlier series called Cloud Islands. The positive of these lines are also used and repeated in Transmission. Although composed in metal, each Archipelago seems to hover weightless, the versos casting a warm, orange glow onto the wall behind.

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Archipelago 2, 2020 Oil on aluminum 28 x 60 x 2 inches (71.1 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm) Edition of 2 $12,000

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Archipelago 3, 2020 Oil on aluminum 24 1/2 x 57 x 2 inches (62.2 x 144.8 x 5.1 cm) Edition of 2 $12,000

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Book of Hours, 2020 Painted duralar, pins 94 1/2 x 16 inches (240 x 40.6 cm) each $8,000 each

Book of Hours was conceptualized during Stone’s summer residency at the Kansas City Art Institute. Influenced by a recent loss, she explored ways to make the reference to time less embedded and more overt in her practice. Each panel suggests a slice of sky at different times of day or at different moments in a life, in varying locations or weather conditions. The scale pushes the painterly and atmospheric effects further, and the layers of duralar create a sense of depth and representational resonance. The title refers to the book of hours from the Middle Ages, a collection of prayers that came with a practice of daily worship and reflection. These elaborately decorated prayer books were also known as Illuminated Manuscripts, another suggestion of the strong relationship between spirit and light.

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Cloud Island (Orange), 2020 Painted duralar 40 7/8 x 27 7/8 inches (103.8 x 70.8 cm) $5,500 framed

Cloud Island (Orange) reflects drawing, painting, collage, and assemblage as primary sensibilities of Stone’s artistic practice, using all four methods to form one complete image. As the title suggests, there are hints of specific lines and mesmerizing colors from previous works, as she continues to expand upon previous projects to create a vastly different art object. Unlike the other, more sculptural installations, this work is physically 2-dimensional, yet creates its own hazy layers of burning color.

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Additional works

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Intertidal (Blue Topo), 2018 Oil on aluminum 28 x 69 x 2 inches (71 x 175 x 5 cm) Edition of 3 $12,000

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Planet (Orange), 2020 Oil on aluminum 57 x 57 x 2 inches (144.8 x 144.8 x 3.8 cm) Edition of 2 $18,000

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Untitled (Light Current), 2020 Painted duralar 42 x 29 inches (106.7 x 73.7 cm) $5,500 framed

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Untitled (Light Current), 2020 Painted duralar 42 x 29 inches (106.7 x 73.7 cm) $5,500 framed

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Profile for RYAN LEE Gallery

Katy Stone - Light Currents  

Katy Stone - Light Currents  

Profile for rlgallery