Katie Stout and the Subversion of American CraftMarch 3, 2020
by Jill Singer
Since the beginning, Katie Stout's work has been focused on subverting notions of American craft. There were the pinched ceramic lamps in primary colors and geometric shapes; the fabric-stuffed, splayed-legged chairs, which reimagined Shaker aesthetics through the lens of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse; and the braided carpets — fabricated in collaboration with the historic American textile factory Colonial Mills — which burst, surreally, into three dimensional eyes, lips, and full-sized, rug-covered armchairs. In her latest solo exhibition at Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami, called Sour Tasting Liquid, Stout focuses her experiments exclusively in ceramics, exploring processes like slab-building, mosaic, pinching, kintsugi, and more to make a body of work that is at once figurative and abstract, logical and absurd. Stout continues her recent foray into lady lamps, but here the Claymation-like characters are cast into ever more absurd scenarios; in another series, the women are made entirely from fruits and vegetables — one boasts a corn cob arm and a cantaloupe breast. Some of the more straightforward pieces are among our favorites — slab-built lamps featuring scalloped shades, sherbet-colored pastel stripes, and gold luster delineating each crack and edge. On view until March 28.