Sculptor and video artist Christy Gast is known for conflating the landscape and the body (often her own) through folk performance conventions. For past projects, Gast has tap danced around Lake Okeechobee, performed as a mermaid on trapeze and a cowgirl with an inflatable desert, and written and recorded a cappella folk ballads about women in the military. Deeply engaged in the role of landscape in both art history and politics, most of the artist’s large-scale projects start with the notion of “public land,” in both practical and romantic senses. Her work has been exhibited at museums and galleries internationally, including MoMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Performa, Artist’s Space and Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York; the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia; Miami Art Museum, the de la Cruz Collection, Gallery Diet, and the Bass Museum of Art in Miami; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and High Desert Test Sites in California, Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich and Centro Cultural Matucana 100 in Santiago, Chile.
This new body of work investigates the collision that occurs when two notions regarding studio practice meet: Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which locates creation within a physical space, and Daniel Buren’s manifesto The Function of the Studio, which frees the artist from its confines. The resulting group of burlap sculptures, double-sized duplications of a year’s worth of sculptural assemblage, reflects on the artist’s studio as the site of that collision, treating the conceptual and physical space of creation as an archaeological site.
The exhibition title, Out of Place, refers to the notion of existing between polarities: here and there, object and idea, interior and exterior, figure and abstraction, past and present. By manipulating burlap, typically used as a container for materials of potential (roots, dry legumes, soil), I replicate the folkloric objects, wooden planks and textiles I used to create a series of assemblages. The assemblages, which I thought of as untitled signifiers, referred to places outside of the studio where I gathered the materials or formal suggestions for the individual works: Lake Okeechobee, the Salton Sea, Teufelsberg.
The burlap doubled doubles, containers for or skins of the studio practice, are unruly interlocutors in the gallery, sprawling and dripping through the space. Like most of my practice, this exhibition works through notions of cultural landscape in both practical and romantic senses, or political and art historical manifestations.