Lauren Gallaspy likes to set traps for herself, challenges that would daunt most artists working in clay. She builds sculptures that seem to fold in on themselves, marked with complex drawings and surface designs that disappear into folds and contours of the clay. Just when you think you’ve figured out the relationship of one form or image to the other, she adds an even more complex element and confounds any stable reading you might have devised.
Gallaspy’s work relates to her background in poetry, where the addition of each word or thought can redirect the entire work. Her shaped clay forms suggest bodies or parts of bodies, as well as buildings or sometimes landscapes. A clay form occupies real space and demands physical engagement— our body to its body. The painted and drawn decorations of the surfaces, however, require us to process them as illusionistic images, a very different type of reception. The slippage between the two modes—possible interpretations shifting in and out of focus— delights the artist and makes for some engaging and puzzling perceptions.