Gay Ribisi started her career as a conceptual artist in the early 70’s and developed through non-functional ceramics, painting, video art, into fine art photography. Having received her masters degree in fine arts from UC Berkeley, Gay began showing her work in galleries and has been in numerous group shows in the bay area and Southern California, including the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Worth Ryder Art Gallery and the Everett Gee Jackson gallery. At the start of her art career, Gay revived a dated technique in ceramics, which gained recognition in an art show held in conjunction with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. With over 10,000 entries from all over the world, Gay won a bronze medal for her submission. Gay’s passion for art has continued through the years, touching on different mediums and combining older influences with modern techniques, embracing modern technology and the digital movement. The course of her career includes the production of two feature films and a documentary about homeless artists living on the streets of LA. It was in her period of painting portraits, that she questioned the medium’s representation of her subjects and become more interested in the story telling aspect of her art. She found and befriended various homeless artists and musicians and created video portrayals of their lives.
Concurrently, Gay broadened her studies in photography and made the switch to still pictures as her main form of artistic expression. She experimented by encasing her photographic prints in resin blocks and discovered that the subject looked as though they were under water. This gave birth to the idea of shooting people in real life situations, using weights and waterproofing props, under water in a swimming pool… negating the background using black tarp, creating the illusion of weightlessness. Observing hair, clothes and jewelry, moving in a way that defies gravity, along with countless hours of retouching and painting in photoshop. Gay had before her a completed series called “wet”. The exhibition was held at Gallery Saint Germain in West Hollywood, summer of 2005. The collection consists of typical scenes like a woman vacuuming, or a girl watering her plant, to a series of girl fights, etc. a surreal imitation of life emerges from the images, in which the viewer wonders how it is all happening. “Wendy”, the artist’s personal favorite, was the first image of the series that gave the graceful sense of floating in space. “Head above water” was photographed later on commission and was selected to exhibit along with 26 other artists in Soho, at the Westwood gallery in New York City, for art on human rights.