Pat Lay, Mythoi (detail), 1996. Fired clay and steel, 11.5 ft. high.

Pat Lay

Newark, New Jersey

Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art

Pat Lay, who retired not long ago from the MFA program that she founded at Montclair State University, recently mounted a major retrospective at Aljira, a prominent nonprofit space in downtown Newark. Curated by Lilly Wei, the show covered decades of work, from late-’60s clay pieces to works made as recently as 2015. There was a good mix of three-dimensional and two-dimensional work, including archival prints whose exquisite symmetry is constructed from computer-parts imagery, but Lay has acknowledged that the true turn of her work is sculptural. The show included a fine array of three-dimensional objects, ranging from a tile-work installation influenced by Noguchi to African-inspired totems, to gender-ambiguous cyborg heads, from whose crowns issue Medusalike wires with variously colored wrappings. Lay’s art is endlessly various, which indicates a curious cast of mind. She combines the very old with the very new in ways that push contemporary art forward, toward a statement that covers art history as well as contemporary sensibilities…see the entire review in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.