With a BFA in Studio Art from the Southwest School of Art, Audrey LeGalley spent a large part of her undergraduate experience developing her skills as a ceramicist. This year alone, LeGalley curated her first exhibition, Girlwork, participated in her first residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and is now having her first solo exhibition, on going home, at Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery.
If you’re familiar with Audrey LeGalley — either through her artistic practice or in life — you’re familiar with her love for a soft color palette and vintage feel. In the last few years, LeGalley has utilized porcelain to explore themes of anxiety, fragility, and domesticity by recreating functional objects found in the home. LeGalley continues this exploration in her most recent body of work but has combined her porcelain pieces with another “domestic” medium — fabric.
“In previous bodies of work, I’ve always been very interested in objecthood,” LeGalley told Unfiltered. “The more I work with porcelain, the more I’ve been interested in other materials, materials of the home, and how I can play with their function and kind of replace them and displace them. I brought upholstery fabric into this body of work. It felt like a very natural move to me.”
This new work does feel very natural. Upon entering Clamp Light, you’re greeted with a soft, fabric, title wall that LeGalley hand-stitched, rather than the stark black vinyl that usually adorns exhibition walls. As you move throughout the gallery, you encounter a very delicate, minimalist installation. Immediately to the right sits a laundry basket made out of floral upholstery fabric, wire, and polyfil. The laundry basket sits comfortably in the gallery space, sliding slightly to one side like a worn, store-bought, plastic laundry basket.
In comparison to LeGalley’s previous laundry basket, made with porcelain, silica, and epoxy, the fabric basket feels more comfortable and flexible, rather than stiff and cold. This contrast in materials is exactly what Audrey was looking for. “Porcelain works in a different way than fabric does,” LeGalley mentioned, “ I like this ragdoll effect…it touches on themes of insecurity and a lack of capability (for lack of a better word). The connotations of fabric are very comforting, versus porcelain which seems cold and fragile.”
We see these two materials often intertwine in this exhibition. For example, there is a stool that stands alone in the gallery, crafted with porcelain legs and a fabric cushion. The theme of on going home conceptually builds upon the use of making functional pieces of everyday home life unusable. If you tried to sit on the work, or actually use any of the work in the exhibition (please don’t), it would break or bend.
The floral material, soft color palette, and vintage details are cognizant of a different era. An era in which mental illness was severely stigmatized, and there wasn’t any verbiage for anxiety, depression, etc. While the use of fabric offers a sense of comfort and warmth, it can also be easily toppled over and appear worn and sad. LeGalley uses this as a gateway into a conversation centered around mental health, and the way our home life can affect it.
A porcelain picture frame sits empty near the bottom of one wall, while the adjacent wall is occupied by a bright, pastel pink sofa with a porcelain side table on either end. Fabric shelves float one on top of the other, and fabric chairs are placed on opposite ends of the gallery. on going home is a quiet exhibition with a loud message and opens tonight, Friday, December 13th, from 7-10pm at Clamp Light.
Learn more about Audrey LeGalley by visiting her website at http://www.audreylegalley.com.
Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery
1704 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78212