Wk4 – Artist Conversation – Carly Lake

Artist: Carly Lake

Exhibition: Closer

Media: ink and watercolors on paper; mixed materials and objects

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi Gallery

Website: carlylake.com

Instagram: instagram.com/sea.lake

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Carly Lake is a Student of illustration at the School of Arts CSULB. She plans to graduate by next spring semester with a minor in American Indian studies. Afterwards she plans to continue studying in a Master-degree. Carly lives in Huntington Beach and apart from drawing she does a lot of sports like playing soccer and running. During the interview – that she gave together with her friend and exhibition partner May Ta – she worked on drawings for an experimental animation movie.

The exhibition ‚Closer‘ is a collaboration between Carly and May Ta where they arranged different drawings, sculptures and installations in the Dutzi Gallery.
I want to focus on a piece that is named ‚Clonal Mojave Yucca‘ and is a sculpture out of painted wood, clay, and yarn. On a horizontal hanging plate of wood stand 14 finger-sized clay monoliths in a circle. each is painted very colorful and in different patterns and on the downside of the plate each one connects to a strings of yarn and all the strings tie into a funnel-like knot.



The title of the sculpture refers to a plant located in the Mojave Desert in California. It is one of the oldest plants in the world (about 12000 years) and consists of different tribes that grow in a circle formed formation and are all connected through the underground root-system. The arrangement of the sculpture seems to mirror this plant formation. But it also connects the idea of shared roots to our human kind by using the different colors patterns for each tribe. regarding Carlys Background in American Indian studies, it makes sense to link these patterns to different Indian tribes. Or at least different cultures and civilisations that are somehow connected to each other – maybe without even realizing this connection.

Obviously I didn’t know about this plant or the message behind the sculpture when I first saw it in the gallery. But its colorful and striking composition made me curious of the story behind and during the interview Carly mentioned the idea of connected roots behind this sculpture.

It uses the Yuka plant as a metapher and I think its a perfect Illustration for this forgiving and encouraging idea of intercultural connection.


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