Stacey Steers, “Edge of Alchemy”
Feb 25 — Apr 15, 2017
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Catharine Clark Gallery presents Edge of Alchemy, a film and solo exhibition by Stacey Steers on view February 25 – April 15, 2017. Funded through generous support from Creative Capital and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Edge of Alchemy concludes a trilogy of films including Phantom Canyon (2006) and Night Hunter (2011) that examine the psychological terrain of women’s inner worlds. By way of a painstaking and labor-intensive process, Steers assembled over 6,000 handworked photo collages, re-imagining American silent film actors Mary Pickford and Janet Gaynor in a phantasmagoric narrative of creation and monstrous hybridities inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Fragments of historical etchings and photographs are combined to construct surreal settings: dreamlike topographies where barren fields are covered with dead bees and chartreuse flowers, and dark recesses where laboratories lost in time are outfitted with strange ironwork and ominous red beakers. Steers’ collage technique is layered, intimate and suggestive, and the fantastastical lifeworlds her collages embody reflect upon “the way we process experience and form memories subliminally,” as noted by the artist. Edge of Alchemy also reveals the startling emotional immediacy in early silent film performances by lingering over “fleeting expressions and extend(ing) them in a way that” richly expands what Steers cogently defines as “a state of interiority.” The film is accompanied by an original score by Lech Jankowski (Brothers Quay) and will be screened in its entirety during the exhibition’s run.
Catharine Clark Gallery’s presentation of Edge of Alchemy also features a selection of original handworked collages, a suite of gelatin silver prints and three new sculptural objects that incorporate media from the film, Catharine Clark Gallery is also pleased to debut a new series of curtains and scarves produced in collaboration with OPEN EDITIONS, which will incorporate floral motifs from Edge of Alchemy. The gallery will subsequently present Edge of Alchemy alongside a selection of works from the exhibition at Art on Paper 2017 in New York City from March 2 – 5, 2017.