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Stephanie J. Woods pushing boundaries of revolution and art
Part of Inter | Sectionality exhibit at Gantt Center
 
Published Thursday, October 15, 2020 10:40 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
Charlotte-based artist Stephanie J. Woods’ “A Radiant Revolution” series is part of “Inter | Sectionality: Diaspora Art From the Creole City” on display at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture.

Stephanie J. Woods continues to expand the boundaries of her work.


The Charlotte native and Myers Park High School alumnus is one of two local guest artists featured in “Inter | Sectionality: Diaspora Art From the Creole City,” which opened at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture earlier this month and runs through January.


In addition to Woods and fellow Charlotte artist Monique Luck, the show features 25 Miami-based artists who represent 17 countries.


Woods has three pieces in the show: “A Radiant Revolution I,” “A Radiant Revolution II” and “A Radiant Revolution III.” They emerged from her work during her residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, combining photography with burlap dyed with sweet tea, woven brass chains, T-shirts with positive affirmations about Black women, textile foil, polished furniture vinyl, dresser mirror frame, gold rope, red tablecloth and an upholstered taffeta print.


She continued to work on the concept throughout other residences, including the ACRE Residency in Wisconsin, the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington, D.C.


The work featured in “Inter | Sectionality” inspired Woods’ work “Lavender Notes” in the Mint Museum’s exhibit “Coined in the South,” which opened last fall. Her work with “Lavender Notes” evolved into more of a political piece. It is currently on view at Smack Mellon, a nonprofit arts organization in Brooklyn, New York, as part of the “Bound Up Together: One the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment” exhibition. The work featured at Smack Melon featured is titled “When the Hunted Become the Hunters.”
The moving audio photograph runs seven minutes and 30 seconds. It features a woman in camouflage, sitting on a mound of dirt with her arms crossed, and a satin bonnet depicting the American flag covering her face.  


“It is a video piece, but it is basically the same moment happening over and over again,” Woods said. “In the video, similar to the way a photograph would be taken, it is with slight movements. That is the direction I am going now—figuring out ways to take my photography pieces and actually have movement happening in them in real life.”
Despite the pandemic, cultural institutions like the Gantt are beginning to reopen their doors with face covering requirement and capacity limitations designed to encourage social distancing. Shortly after the exhibit opened, someone sent Woods a picture of her work in the Gantt’s gallery space.


“It’s strange, because I know that the work is up, but I haven’t seen people interacting with it in the way that I normally would when I would go to the opening and have conversations with people about it,” Woods said. “It’s weird to fathom the idea that there is work up. We installed the work a few months ago, so the work has been in the gallery with no one in there. For the Gantt to be open and for people to interact with it is great. I really loved getting that picture, because it feels like civilization is actually looking at the work and engaging with it.”


Woods has always felt that museums naturally lend themselves to social distancing. They allow visitors space to be with the artwork, versus an atmosphere like that of a sporting event that is designed to pack in as many people as possible at one time.


“Aside from the openings, I felt like everyone had their moment where they could engage with a piece of work and not feel as though someone was on top of them,” Woods said. “[Gallery] spaces allow for safe viewing. It felt like finally, it’s about time. If they can tackle each other on the field, we should be able to look at art.”

Woods finished up a residency at the Halcyon during the early months of the pandemic. She would spend the next several months with her husband Johannes Barfield at his residency at the Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. In July she moved to Richmond, Virginia for a position at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, where she is an adjunct assistant fiber professor.


“It’s been really weird transitioning in the middle of things being shut down, because I got here, and you couldn’t really go anywhere, but also traveling on the road and trying to make sure that you pack enough food and all these different things,” Woods said. “There has been a lot of transitioning, and finally I’m in Richmond, but for who knows how long, because a lot of institutions have to lay off staff. I’m lucky enough to have started a new job here part-time.”

Comments

It is important to note that this exhibition is curated by Rosie Gordon Wallace and presented by the Art organization DVCAI from Miami. http://dvcai.org/
Posted on October 16, 2020
 

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