MA Thesis Candidate Presents Sculpture Show at Northport Nature Trail

Molly Lay, Installation view of “Time and Tension,” Munny Sokol Park, Northport, Ala., forged steel rod, handmade abaca paper and zinnia seeds, 6 x 3 x 3 feet. Image courtesy of the artist.

The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History presents the MA thesis exhibition of Molly Lay, titled Time and Tension, April 1 through May 27, 2022. Lay’s exhibition of sculpture will be installed along the trail at Munny Sokol Park in Northport, Alabama.

In her statement about this work, Lay writes that she “explores human responses to the passage of time…Every day, each one of us decides where and how to use our time. Except it’s not ours. Time answers to no one. What most interests me is what time demands of us.”

Lay continues, “This is what time requires: that we live life in tension. We hold conflicting moments all at once. Past, present, and future in constant collision. In one moment, one might experience memories of the past, dreams for the future, or an awareness of reality. These sculptures hold tension as well. Strong, machined steel rod wrestles with fragile, handmade paper. Their very materials are at odds. Each individual form might be interpreted as person, plant, or creature. My intent is for these sculptures to instill wonder. To be a display of wrestling and releasing, again and again. These forms suggest that tension can provide both freedom and restriction. Time is no captor. Time simply is.”

Lay is drawn to a variety of materials in her sculpture. For this work, she forged steel and fabricated paper from abaca fibers. “Scrap metal, natural, found objects and textiles have been consistent materials in my studio practice over the most recent years,” she said. The objects, she says, speak to her as an artist when she works with them. “There is an important exchange that occurs between artist and material. Each learns from the other. Listening is the key.”

Molly Lay is a graduate student in sculpture and a teaching assistant in 3D Design. She received the Leslie and Francis Posey Foundation Graduate Art Scholarship in fall 2021. She has held an internship at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Education and Community Engagement and worked as a curator for the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in Saint Petersburg, Fla., and summer art program coordinator at Brookwood Baptist Church in Birmingham. As a freelance artist, she created illustrations for advertisements and painted a mural in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2018. She received the BA in studio art from Samford University and studied a semester at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland.

Munny Sokol Park is located at 5901 Watermelon Road in Northport, Alabama. Directions to the park can be found at this website and this map shows parking for the trail along which Lay’s work will be installed.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.