image: That Word by Gyöngy Laky on view at the US District Court in San Francisco.
Art work by Gyöngy Laky (B.A. Design '70, M.A. Design '71) is currently installed in several Bay Area museums and at the US Department of State Art in Embassies exhibition in Warsaw, Poland. Seek, a 2016 free standing sculpture, that includes branches, commercial wood, acrylic paint and bullets for building (trim screws) will be installed for the next two years at the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
A large ampersand sculpture, commissioned for the permanent collection of the Oakland Museum in conjunction with the inauguration of their newly renovated exhibition space in 2010, is currently on view again in the museum's galleries along with another work OMCA acquired several years earlier. The De Young Museum is also currently showing one of my Ms. Laky's sculptures.
Gyöngy Laky's work is visually diverse, structurally intriguing and tactilely rich. Whether in her grids, vessels, language related sculptures or abstracted architectural forms her hand-constructed work cues a combined sensory and mental experience. She explores the possibilities of form, arrangement, dimensionality, material, texture and pattern. She is fundamentally concerned with learning, remembering, thinking and understanding through the relationship between what is tangible and tactile and what is metaphorical. Laky works where the physical intersects with word, thought and imagination. With simple text, common signs or familiar objects she probes how experiencing these in visual, physical form might alter, extend and/or enhance a viewer's response. By what is recognized and what is suggested she seeks the mental connections one might not otherwise make. She cunningly combines the verbal with the visceral.
Educated as she was among artists and architects at the University of California, Berkeley, Laky borrows freely from various methods and materials associated with architecture to adroitly construct sculptural wall works and freestanding forms while pursuing an aesthetic, intellectual and social enterprise. Through her extensive travels she developed an interest in simple, vernacular, hand built structures such as fences, basketry, grills, lattices, trellises and scaffolding as is evident in her approach to structure. Using screws, nails, dowels and wire, she connects natural branches or commercial wood (even charcoal, plastic soldiers, or, occasionally, recycled post-consumer items) in intersecting arrays.
Themes in Laky's recent work, however, cross a variety of subjects and social issues. Often it is presented through the form of words, letters or symbols exploring letters and symbols as sculptural forms in addition to what they might convey. Laky undertakes to make a letter function like a sentence and to make a symbol, single word, sign or object function like a narrative. Her deceptively simple construction methods belie a complexity of meaning
As of 2005, Gyöngy Laky is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis (design and art). Her work is in museum collections in Europe and the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Oakland Museum of California.