R & Company is thrilled to announce Side Dish, a solo exhibition of Katie Stout opening in the lower level gallery September 26. This is Stout’s first comprehensive exhibition at R & Company and a presentation of all new works. For the exhibition, the designer has transformed the gallery space into an immersive environment that reflects her playful and spontaneous studio practice.
On view are Stout’s latest girls series including new lamps, mirrors, tables and seating, each composed of unique female forms posed in provocative stances. Handcrafted in clay and wicker, these stylized female nudes are represented as domestic objects, meant to satirize the objectification and traditional role of women by way of extreme kitsch. Stout states “The girls - clearly adult women - are titled as such in a reflection of how society disempowers and fetishizes women by referring to them as girls. Women can be sloppy, weird, lumpy, mischievous and naked, and that’s just fine.“ Despite their designated functions as lamps, mirrors, and other household objects, the girls are noticeably distracted from their tasks at hand and their suggestive forms are confidently carefree.
The girls series are presented on display in a whimsical environment envisioned by Stout. Spanning the gallery is a wallpaper of girls interlocked in different poses with dynamic expressions. Covering the floor is a vibrant carpet which features a mutated fruit and wild flower pattern, designed by the artist in collaboration with Amini. The exhibition also presents a new series of benches, chairs and stumps designed in Stout’s playful style and made in various types of marble. Together these works transform the gallery space into an immersive and inventive world of Stout’s creation. She states, “The girls are my vision of utopia, where females can exist in a domestic sphere unencumbered from societal pressures and encouraged to explore and play.“
Katie Stout (b. 1989) describes her work as "naïve pop," a characterization of furniture as it is traditionally understood and of the motifs of suburban domestic life. She utilizes a diverse range of media and unexpected techniques. Her expansive body of work includes lighting, seating, shelving, mirrors, carpets and curtains. Stout's practice is shaped by an urge to subtly subvert utilitarian forms and function to create an experience that pushes just past the threshold of what is comfortable - encouraging her audience to consider elements of the so-called deranged and demented in their everyday lives. Her work is refreshingly disarming in its simultaneous sense of dark irony and the joyful celebration of childhood innocence that it evokes. Stout’s intention is to peel back some of the layers of seriousness often associated with the concept of design as well as the melodrama of family household life. The pieces are meant to be well-used, elevating the idea of "wear and tear" as a welcome part of each work's narrative.
Stout’s still nascent career boasts an impressive array of highlights, including her fantastical "Bedroom Curio" exhibition presented by Cultured Magazine at Design Miami 2015, which was photographed by Juergen Teller for a Barney’s Rick Owens campaign; a furniture collaboration with Bjarne Melgaard for his installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial; and being named the winner of the first season of HGTV’s series "Ellen’s Design Challenge" in 2015.
Born in Portland, Maine, Stout grew up in New Jersey and holds a BFA from RISD. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.