Stacia Laura Yeapanis
Instructor, Fiber and Material Studies (2012). BA, 1999, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; MFA, 2006, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Exhibitions: The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore; Des Lee Gallery, St. Louis; BOLT Project Space, Chicago; Baang and Burne Contemporary, New York. Publications: MP3: Midwest Photographers' Project, co-published by Aperture and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Bibliography: Artforum.com, New City, RadarRedux.com, Badatsports.com, Fiberarts Magazine. Collections: Museum of Contemporary Photography. Awards: multiple CAAP grants.
Experience at SAIC
As graduate student in the Fiber and Material Studies Department, I got the support and feedback I needed from both my peers and the faculty to become a stronger artist. The interdisciplinary emphasis of the school was both exactly what I was looking for, so I felt immediately at home. But it also challenged me in unexpected ways that continue to ripple through my practice. I hope to offer that same experience to my students, and I'm looking forward to be being challenged now by them.
I explore the emotional and spiritual experience of repetition in our daily tasks and in the mediated ways we participate in culture, from television watching to gaming to flipping through magazines. Working in a combination of digital and handmade media, I use the conceptual strategies of accumulation, collection, appropriation and remix to reveal the capacity of these tasks/pleasures to be alternatively monotonous, frenzied, meditative and transformative.
I look to the shared places in our culture for evidence of this, and I see it all around us, especially in the grossness of our consumer culture. But every place that something manufactured exists, there also exists authenticity. The idiosyncratic way we pick and choose from the overwhelming mass of products and images reveals the authenticity of our cultural experiences. Whether looking at art in a gallery or watching the season finale of a favorite show, we are cultural participants. We are producers, as well as consumers, champions as well as critics.
Our participation in mass-media culture reveals the holes we have inside. And as much as it can contribute to those holes, it also contributes to filling them in a satisfying way. Culture, in general, whether high or low, can be seen as both the cause and the antidote to our existential emptiness. Facing that paradox, rather than turning away, is a spiritual act.
My recent collage installations reveal the coexistence of anxiety and beauty in glossy magazines. The images in advertisements and lifestyle articles are intended by their producers to create new desires and manipulate existing ones in consumers. I cut out, organize and remix the images, making do with what is offered and turning the act of consuming into one of creating.
The resulting large-scale abstractions mimic organic forms, evoking both plant and animal characteristics: vines, barnacles, dripping water, as well as tufts of fur, scales and tails. The collected magazine images, symbolizing the never-ending desire for more, appear to grow from a void on the gallery wall, simultaneously representing terrifying nothingness and peaceful stillness. Rather than permanently adhering the individual parts of my collages to each other, I attach them directly to the gallery wall with T-pins, which reference both the constructive process of quilting and the deconstructive process of dissection. The temporariness of the pinning echoes the ephemeral nature of desire and the tactics we use to satisfy it.
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.