Works by Stacey Steers on view at the George Eastman Museum

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Works by Stacey Steers on view at the George Eastman Museum
Stacey Steers (American, b. 1954), Stack of Beds, 150 × 62 × 46 in., installation view from Stacey Steers: Trilogy, 2017, Robischon Gallery. Lent by the artist and Robischon Gallery, Denver, Colorado.

ROCHESTER, NY.- The George Eastman Museum opened a new exhibition, Stacey Steers: Night Reels, in the museum’s Project Gallery and Multipurpose Hall on Saturday, February 20. The exhibition will be on view through June 6.

Night Reels is a body of multidisciplinary work by the artist Stacey Steers (American, b. 1954) that blends 2D paper collage, animation, mixed-media sculpture, and moving image works. Steers pays homage to the history of moving images while inventing entirely original cinematic works that transport familiar characters and imagery into surreal nocturnal dreamscapes.

The moving image works on display begin with Phantom Canyon (2006), a “true story” that follows human figures selected from Eadweard Muybridge’s pre-cinema motion studies. The second, Night Hunter (2011), features a mesmerizing performance from silent cinema star Lillian Gish, who has been lifted from her original films and recast in a disquieting domestic phantasy. In the third, Edge of Alchemy (2017), Hollywood icons Janet Gaynor and Mary Pickford are brought together in a retelling of the Frankenstein story—with a surprising twist.

Each frame in Steers’s films is first composed as intricate paper collages assembled from fragments of 19th-century printed engravings and book illustrations. Steers then photographs each collage onto 35mm motion picture film. Working with extraordinary precision, she develops approximately eight distinct collages for every second of screen time. This meticulous process, combined with an exquisite mastery of the craft of animation results in each film taking a minimum of five years to produce.

“While Steers’s films can be fully enjoyed when seen projected on a large screen, they take on a new life when viewed within her collaboratively fabricated sculptural works,” said Gordon Nelson, exhibition curator and curator of moving image department digital collection, George Eastman Museum. “Each dynamically captivating 3D object has been designed as an ideal small-scale theater in which to experience these masterful films in a gallery setting.”

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