Feature Articles

April 2014

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, Features Works by Courtney McCracken and Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet

Artspace, a visual art center in downtown Raleigh, NC, opens in Gallery 2, a new exhibition on Apr. 4, Redefining Ritual (Apr. 4-May 31, 2014). This exhibition brings together work by artists Courtney McCracken and Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet, women whose innovative voices both take on the traditions of Southern culture. They ask what it means to both inherit and make traditional expectations of home and femininity your own in the 21st century, sometimes visualizing as a literal burden or entanglement. A reception will be held on Apr. 4, from 6-10pm.

Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet shows artwork that she created during her 2013 Artspace residency. Her work, entitled Dragging, involved her tying pieces of an entire formal dining room set with ropes to her body and filming the walk. “Part of the aesthetic of the resulting video,” the artist explains, “is the real effort that it takes me to pull such a load with just my body.” She will exhibit the video and photo diptychs of select objects before and after being dragged on the walk down a rural road in Wake County. Viewers may consider what metaphors the scrapes and breaks on the plates, silverware, and doilies may represent in terms of labor, power, femininity, wealth, and desire.

Courtney McCracken’s newest series integrates sculpture, installation, and drawing. She uses laborious processes, often associated with feminine, domestic activity, such as casting, crochet, and cut paper. McCracken‘s work begins a dialogue about the domestic home and the idea of ownership. She adds her own artistic twist to recognizable objects such as doilies, rugs, and chandeliers. Viewers may note the imbalance or subtle dangers that she adds to ordinarily nurturing objects, implied by embroidering “forgetting” in red on a handkerchief, or weaving a doily into a sculptural, tangled three-dimensional object that could not ever lay flat on a surface like the doily that inspired it.

An Educators’ Discussion with Courtney McCracken will be held at Artspace on Apr. 5, from 10:30am-12:30pm. The event, exclusively for high school teachers, will begin with a gallery talk with McCracken and will be followed by a roundtable discussion about how Artspace can support high school teachers. Refreshments will be provided and this is a free event.

Courtney McCracken (b. 1990, Jacksonville, FL) received her BFA in Sculpture at the University of North Florida. She is currently enrolled as an MFA candidate at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she lives and works. She was granted the Graduate Dean Award and looks forward to instructing classes at the Lamar Dodd School of Art within the year. Her research includes sculpture, installation, and drawing. Laborious processes such as casting, crochet, cut paper, and metalsmithing are used to create a dialogue concerning the domestic home and the idea of possession. Her work has been shown regularly throughout the Southeast region, including at the National Conference for Cast Iron Art at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, AL.

Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet (b. 1981, Bonn, Germany) is a mixed media artist and lives and works in Hampton, VA, where she is an Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Hampton University. She received her MFA in Studio Art from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has a BA in Art & Design and History from NC State University College of Design and has taken graduate coursework in Art History and Studio Art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She was an Artist-in-Residence at Artspace in 2013, received a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award in 2012, and the Logan Award from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011, among numerous other honors. Her recent exhibitions include the exhibition of NC Arts Council Grant Recipients at CAM Raleigh, The Power of Habit, Neil Britton Gallery, Virginia Wesleyan University, VA, and Intrusions of Grace, Lorrie Saunders Art Gallery, Norfolk, VA.

Artspace is a nonprofit visual art center dedicated to providing arts education and community outreach programs, creating an environment of 120 professional artists and presenting nationally acclaimed exhibitions. Located in downtown Raleigh in the historic Sanders Ford building, Artspace has been providing the community with the opportunity to interact with working artists and to participate in hands-on arts education since 1986.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings or visit (www.artspacenc.org).

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