HappeningsCLT caught up with Stacey Davidson while she was in the last weeks of her summer affiliate residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Entering Stacey’s studio, you’ll never know what you’ll find; she has taken lessons learned as a former stage actress and knowledgeable seamstress and turned them into a collection of puppets, which she paints, photographs, arranges into performance, and stars in movies. We think she’s one of the best painters in town, and the unconventional lives she elicits from her puppet subjects renders them ideal for portraiture: his cast of limp dolls is suddenly laden with personality, history and emotion.
In addition to from teaching at Winthrop and finishing up a stop-motion film, Stacey is completing new work for her upcoming exhibition Small Is the New Big at Winthrop University’s Rutledge Gallery, December 8 – March 15.
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
SD: Velasquez, Nancy Rubins, Charles LeDray, beauty, wrong-doing, Amy Sillman, Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
SD: There is not one. It’s an attitude: the most valuable art experience is anywhere that you are open fully to the art at hand; and to actively seek out new experiences and excellent work. And anyway, I haven’t seen enough of the Carolinas to know.
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
SD: It was so gradual, there wasn’t a moment….somewhere between loving to construct things and drawing, and loving being in plays.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work.
SD: It’s not a “body” but a little stop-motion animation using the dolls I’ve made and used before in my paintings and photographs. It’s a love-song.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
SD: New website! And, in January-March 2015 I’ll have a solo exhibition at the Rutledge Gallery at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC (editor’s note: It’s this one!)
HCLT: Best meal in Charlotte?
SD: a vegetarian sandwich on a fresh baguette at the 4th Ward Bakery
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
SD: Mary Chestnut’s Diary, and Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
HCLT: What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
SD: I have no idea. If I’m going there to die I’d take different things than if I’m going there for vacation! How about: lots of water, my meditation cushion, and one of Bhante Gunaratana’s books.
HCLT: What is up next?
SD: School, finishing the film, and going to see Amy Sillman’s show at Bard!