Edge of Alchemy
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 6,500 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 extending them in a way that” richly expands what Steers cogently defines as “a state of interiority.”
Stacey Steers is known for her process-driven, labor-intensive films composed of thousands of handmade works on paper. Her recent work employs images appropriated from early cinematic sources, from which she constructs original, lyrical narratives. These films investigate the nature of longing, and how desire provokes and mediates experience to create meaning. Steers’s animated short films have screened throughout the U.S. and abroad, and have received numerous awards. Her work has shown at Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, IFFR, Rotterdam, New Directors New Films (New York), MoMA, and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) among many other venues. Recently Steers has expanded her work to include collaborative installations that join invented, three-dimensional production elements with film loops, creating a new context for experiencing her films. Steers’s installation work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery, (Washington, D.C.), the Denver Art Museum, Hamburger Kunsthalle in Germany and many other venues.
From the Journal
- Stacey Steers and the Power of Process April 6, 2017
- MCA Denver Exhibits Stacey Steers’ Creative Capital Project September 20, 2019