THE LEFT BEHIND: Mixed media by Stacey Piwinski

Exhibition Dates: July 17 to August 15, 2015
Reception: Friday, July 17, 6 to 8 pm

Interview with Stacey Piwinski

Stacey Piwinski in her studio

Stacey Piwinski in her studio

DD: Stacey, thank you for sharing the work for The Left Behind in your studio last week. Your studio was bursting with energy and color as you get ready to hang this solo show.

We’ve been talking about your work across the past two or three years. While you always begin with a clear plan, you also remain open to the unexpected along the way and this has impact on your process and your final results. Would you be willing to share the back-story of a particular group or piece that you are installing next week?

SP: Yes, let’s talk about the collection of 39 paintings that I have titled Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

As you know, I was most recently working on a series of mixed media portraiture that begin with objects given to me by those being depicted in the work. These items are shredded, cut, twisted and torn and recontextualized into handwoven fabric. As I have been planning my wedding, I asked my mother for my Nana’s wedding dress. The first thing she said to me as she reluctantly handed me the dress was, “Don’t cut this up and weave it into anything.” I have been thinking about how energy and intention are carried through many of our possessions. I held back on my impulses to re-purpose the fabric of my Nana’s treasured wedding gown and made cyanotypes from the lacy fabric instead. Using these blue sun prints, I was able to use the dress in this series of work without cutting into the dress. Around the holidays when I was talking about using Nana’s dress in my work, my uncle was happy to give me a box of her old linens. These I could use freely; cutting, painting and honoring within the work.

Nana's wedding dress and a cyanotype from the lacy fabric

Nana's wedding dress and a cyanotype from the lacy fabric

While in my last semester of graduate school, I experimented with creating large wall-sized versions of some of my smaller pieces. One of these Expansion pieces is part of this show. I took my large painting and cut it up into 10x10 inch pieces and used it as the backdrop for this new collection of paintings. In my opinion what these Expansion pieces were lacking were the actual objects that carried the energy and the stories that connect to the people who owned them.

In graduate school, I focused on telling the stories of others, with the work in this show, it is about me. In Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, this piece is about my Nana as well as it is about me experiencing preparing for my wedding.

Measuring a student for  Forget-Me-Not

Measuring a student for Forget-Me-Not

The installation Forget-Me-Not represents all of the students I see in one week as a public school art educator. Each string is measured to the height of that student and white has been painted over the color of the yarn on one side of the string representing the great lengths one goes through to make sure students all learn the same curriculum. Unfortunately this is often at the expense of the students’ own creativity and expression. Needless to say this method isn’t always best. I intended the piece to have one white side and one colored side, but just like in the real world, things do not always go as planned and children don’t always listen. This isn’t always a bad thing...

Forget-Me-Not  in progress in the studio

Forget-Me-Not in progress in the studio

See more of Stacey Piwinski's work at