Artist: Carly Lake
Exhibition: Clonal Realm
Media: Plywood, clay, acrylic, and thread
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi
About the Artist
Carly is an undergraduate working towards her Bachelors of Fine Arts Illustration, in the College of Fine Arts at California State University Long Beach. She is graduating this semester (Fall 2016) and wants to find a job after she graduates. Eventually she wants to get into a Masters program, and then later become an art professor. Carly has a minor in American Indian Studies, and says it keeps her more open-minded about how she represents other people. This was Carly’s fourth exhibition, but the first one where she spent months creating works specifically for an exhibition in mind.
She said she enjoyed working with materials she doesn’t normally use (e.g. clay) and thought it was a neat experience.
Carly titled her work of art Clonal Realm. She created a kind of sculpture, combining various medias together to create a representation of a clonal colony. The sculpture sits on a plywood base with several different section painted different colors. The sides of the plywood are also painted with different colors, creating a layer-like effect. There are also various colored threads hanging underneath, all intertwining. On top of the plywood sit several clay sculptures with similar shapes but varying colors and markings, making each one unique.
Carly said she was inspired to create this piece of art by watching a certain TED Talk. In this TED Talk, she said the speaker described clonal plants and explained a lot about them. Carly was surprised that all the plants looked like they’d all be separate organisms, but in reality they’re all connected and one and the same. She said it also made her think about life in a new perspective and she then began to think about how it applies to other living things, like humans. With this new knowledge, Carly wanted to represent these thoughts and created Clonal Realm.
Synthesis / My Experience
I, as an undergraduate studying biology, was particularly interested by Carly’s Clonal Realm and felt like she captured the characteristics of clonal organisms quite well. In biology, a clonal colony start with one original individual (e.g. one tree). Then, after growing for a while, a root extends out underground a distance until it pops up. Another tree begins to grow and develop out of this root, until you have two trees. Each of these trees can then send out another root and create more trees. From the surface all the trees appear to be unique individuals, but in reality they’re all the same single plant connected by the root that began to just pop up everywhere.
Starting at the top, she had her clay pieces, or the “organisms” (i.e. a tree/plant/fungus). Each one is appears to be unique and its own self, but really they’re all connected. The plywood represents the dirt and ground the organisms live in. The various colors of the ground in different sections could represent the unique locations the organisms could be growing in. On the side of the plywood we see a layer-like effect of different colors. This could represent sediment/soil layers. Finally, underneath the plywood ground we have the roots, represented by the thread. All of the roots are different colors that represent the unique clay pieces they grew from. However, all the roots lead to the same original spot in the ground where they all intertwine and lead to a single thread at the very bottom, representing their interconnections. Very cool stuff.