No, this isn’t a blog entry about an outlaw that is gay. Last weekend the Berkeley Art Center, part of their Fall Artist Lecture Series, featured the amazing artist Gay Outlaw. That is her real name! Photography, installation, sculpture, and painting are all part of Outlaw’s art.
Gay Outlaw was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1959 and studied French at the University of Virginia. She studied art of pastry in Paris and photography in New York. Outlaw’s experiences and education are at the root of her extensive art practice.
In Outlaw’s earlier works, her sculptures were made of pastries, caramel, and food. Most notable is a thirty-four foot-long sculpture of fruitcake bricks at the Yerba Buena Gardens. Taking the whole idea of permanence to the next level. Could fruitcakes and art last forever? Maybe but we won’t be alive to find out.
The Berkeley Art Museum features Outlaw’s installation, Black Horse Mountain. The piece looks like a cross between a Grand Teton’s mountain and a late 1980’s computer. Made out of dishwasher hose and white plaster, the piece was inspired by the slump of Rodin’s Balzac. Outlaw has mastered the technique of merging old and new into something that becomes timeless.
At the talk, Gay discussed how her process has revisited painting and showed current images during the presentation. She is one of few artists that work in multiple mediums with seamless transition and elegance. Each body of work is an effortless visual transition with the highest level of craftsmanship. It was a real honor to listen to Outlaw’s lecture.
Gay currently lives and works in San Francisco.
“What an artist needs, more than anything else, is a kind of faith in what you’re doing and the discipline to do it.” Gay Outlaw