An illustration of a person with half their face hidden behind a mass of rock.

Stacey Steers, "Edge of Alchemy" collage, 2017; mixed media on paper; 4 x 5.5 in.

Stacey Steers

Film/Video/New Media
Artist in Residence, 2019

A portrait of a person next to camera equipment.

Artist Statement

I’m inspired by Surrealist techniques of collage and montage. My animated films bring incongruous or unexpected objects into a pre-existing film frame or a newly assembled collage environment to suggest new narratives. Like the Surrealists, my working process is intuitive and allows the unconscious and non-rational to play a role. I unite elements with no obvious shared context and try to create an atmosphere where their alignment feels somehow natural and poetically sound.

I’m drawn to moments of ambiguity and intimacy and to actors who add psychological complexity to their performances. My collage technique makes it possible for me to linger over very fleeting expressions and extend them in a way that emphasizes a state of interiority I am interested in exploring. I’m curious about the nature of longing—how it provokes and mediates experience. At the same time, I try to undercut cultural biases in film representation and to return agency and independence to historic portrayals of women.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands I will continue to work on a new film that will further develop the collage technique from my last two projects. This new film will include the use of text, in concert with image sequences. I am collaborating with the poet Mary Syzbist, who won the National Book Award for poetry in 2013. We are conducting an exchange, creating a composition in sequence, my animation and her text back and forth. The result will be a short film.

I intend to do further work with the images of Lillian Gish and Janet Gaynor, and include Louise Brooks in this project. The landscape is outer space, and the women are aboard a vessel. There is a search for a safe haven from post-apocalyptic earth. The women shelter an object of great import. Silent-era science films of Jean Painleve and Percy Smith will figure into the collages. I am combining elements from these sources along with other materials as we begin this collaboration. I envision creating an immersive installation environment to accompany the finished film.

Selected Video