Fay Ray: Lacuna

15 May - 26 June 2021
  • Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Lacuna, a series of new sculptures by Los Angeles-based Fay Ray. This will be...

    Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Lacuna, a series of new sculptures by Los Angeles-based Fay Ray. This will be the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Lacuna continues the artist’s exploration of sculpture that exists between the terrestrial and the intangible. Through a vocabulary of symbols, the artist utilizes industrial materials to explore a wide range of references––from desert culture, to her familial and religious roots––while employing abstraction to transcend their material origins.

     

    Through the use of mass, scale, and medium, Ray’s suspended sculptures elicit the body as they react to the conditions of their environment, causing them to shift, enlarge, or disappear in the space. Slipping between presence and absence, this new series not only signifies a body that isn’t seen, but one that is endlessly contracting and expanding.

  • The works in Lacuna amalgamate signs of land and sea. Returning to the High Desert in Southern California where the...
    Fay Ray
    Seaweed, 2021
    Aluminum
    102 x 44 inches

    The works in Lacuna amalgamate signs of land and sea. Returning to the High Desert in Southern California where the artist grew up, Ray has collected a variety of organic and non-organic material from the region. These artifacts are intimately linked to her familial past and serve as talismans. Each object is imbued with human touch, a specific location, and a certain passage of time, expanding the presence of these relics beyond their material properties. The artist gives equal attention to the industrial trucking equipment and metal scraps of her family’s multi-generational hauling trade, the woven baskets and abalone displays found in the homes of her youth, and to the corn, cacti, and seashells found naturally in the desert landscape. Ray’s objects are cast in aluminum, simultaneously immortalizing and memorializing these forms in a new material. Once preserved, these amulets are hand-fastened to sheet metal with the artist’s individually hand-formed chain links, leveling the symbol’s power through interchangeability, like charms on a bracelet.

  • 'As a kid when my sister and I would be out in these truck stops, we’d get out of my...
    Fay Ray
    Mexican Beer Can, 2021
    Aluminum
    83.5 x 47 inches

    "As a kid when my sister and I would be out in these truck stops, we’d get out of my dad’s big rig and notice the different bits of debris on the blacktop. I’d always notice smashed beer cans for some reason. I’d see them and I’d make this immediate connection to the truck I was just in. As a kid you’re just like 'Whoa that’s flat!' That had dimension and now you can pick it up like a cracker. I liked that it was rolled over and crunched and sun-bleached and crackled and had this gorgeous texture. I’m trying to bring some of that sun-bleached, worn essence to the work.” – Fay Ray

  • Throughout the exhibition, moments of scale and material are met with spaciousness and lightness. The suspended and wall-mounted artworks of...
    Fay Ray
    Algodones, 2021
    Aluminum and driftwood
    92 x 38.5 inches

    Throughout the exhibition, moments of scale and material are met with spaciousness and lightness. The suspended and wall-mounted artworks of cast and machined aluminum are punctuated with natural materials such as stone, driftwood, and glass, and resemble an oversized body adornment such as a necklace, earring, or keychain. The razor-thin aluminum forms remain static, until a body, change in the viewer’s position, or slight gust of wind causes the pieces to move and turn––making them either voluminous, or virtually disappear.  Like a rotating mobile, certain formations allow the sculpture to take up space in multiple directions simultaneously, giving them dimension and highlighting their presence. Other configurations offer the same artwork the opportunity to utilize negative space, highlighting a void or the surrounding architecture.

    • Fay Ray Corn and Crescent, 2021 Aluminum and blue granite 80 x 24 x 24 inches
      Fay Ray
      Corn and Crescent, 2021
      Aluminum and blue granite
      80 x 24 x 24 inches
    • Fay Ray Pica, 2021 Aluminum 90 x 33 inches
      Fay Ray
      Pica, 2021
      Aluminum
      90 x 33 inches
  • The alchemical treatment of Ray’s sculptures involves the repeated process of exposing aluminum to heat, water, oxygen, and solution. Through...

    The alchemical treatment of Ray’s sculptures involves the repeated process of exposing aluminum to heat, water, oxygen, and solution. Through these efforts, materials collect and form patterns of calcified minerals. This method of aging compresses a sense of time by expediting the forces of nature that would normally occur over many years. The once new and shiny sheets of aluminum become aged, while the weathered seashells, cacti, and industrial chains are transformed into something new. Composed of material found and fabricated throughout the southern California inlands, Ray’s sculptures are able to exist outdoors, returning to the exterior elements from which they once came. Here, the forces of sun, salt, and air continue the long and painstakingly slow process of oxidation, where mineral deposits crystallize on the aluminum and imbue the material with celestial patterns of swirling galaxies and moon-like craters. Indoors, the artworks remain frozen, preserved and unchanged.

    • Fay Ray Ceviche, 2021 Aluminum and abalone shells 112.5 x 24 x 8 inches
      Fay Ray
      Ceviche, 2021
      Aluminum and abalone shells
      112.5 x 24 x 8 inches
    • Ceviche Fay Ray Shulamit Nazarian 3
  • “Clam shells represent for me the Gulf of Mexico, another space and time in my family’s past where we would go. Same with the abalone shell. It was something that my dad would make in the backyard. There’s something about how the flesh of the abalone is cooked with salt and lime. There’s something about all that that I’m trying to bring together in the work.”
    –Fay Ray

  • The exhibition’s title derives from the Latin word for lake, and can be understood as a gap, vacancy, or absence...
    Fay Ray
    Lacuna, 2021
    Aluminum
    65 x 41 inches

    The exhibition’s title derives from the Latin word for lake, and can be understood as a gap, vacancy, or absence that is made known through its surroundings. Just as a body of water indicates an unseen impression in the earth, a Lacuna is an absence that is only revealed through another presence. Similarly, throughout the exhibition, objects and forms that appear absent or concealed are later revealed. As the artworks turn or the viewer’s sight line moves, positive and negative spaces in the sculptures are presented with each change in position. In other artworks, absence is conjured through division. Singular metal forms are bisected so that their shapes are shared between sculptures, the halved material suggesting an enigmatic whole--like the sever of a pill along its groove, or the split of the sun as it slips past the horizon.

    • Fay Ray Split the Pill, 2021 Aluminum 62 x 40 inches
      Fay Ray
      Split the Pill, 2021
      Aluminum
      62 x 40 inches
    • Fay Ray Scorpio, Scorpian, Scorpius , 2021 Aluminum, glass, desert sand, and stainless steel 53 x 18 x 9.5 inches
      Fay Ray
      Scorpio, Scorpian, Scorpius , 2021
      Aluminum, glass, desert sand, and stainless steel
      53 x 18 x 9.5 inches
  • In literature, the intentional use of Lacunas often produces a work that remains unfinished by the author, allowing for the work to finish itself. Similarly, this process that champions the unknown can be found throughout Ray’s exhibition. From collecting ephemera across the desert, to utilizing factors like air, abstraction, and ritual to oscillate aluminum forms between presence and absence, the artworks in Lacuna reflect a willingness to embrace uncertainty. Ray’s sculptures seize this ambiguity, endlessly shifting between specificity and mystery.

  • Fay Ray (b. 1978, Riverside, CA) received her BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2002, and her...

    Photo: Joe Pugliese

    Fay Ray (b. 1978, Riverside, CA) received her BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2002, and her MFA from Columbia University in 2005. She has exhibited at galleries and institutions including REDCAT, Los Angeles (2019); Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles (2016 & 2018); Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (2016); Louis B James Gallery, New York (2016); JOAN, Los Angeles (2015); Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles (2012); and Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills (2011) and New York (2007), among others.