Escape Routes

Stacey Steers: Phantom Canyon

September 18, 2016 — January 1, 2017

The drive to escape holds the potential for a journey into self-discovery that brings hidden emotions and recollections to the fore. Colorado-based filmmaker Stacey Steers has made it her life’s work to create animated films that reveal personal voyages through memories of transformative life experiences. Using found imagery from antique photographs and clip art, her collage animations verge on the fantastic.

Steers’s films connect to the Surrealist idea of expressing the artist’s inner mind through dream imagery. Winged characters, domestic spaces, bugs, bats, and fish repeat throughout her works. Phantom Canyon portrays a meaningful but ill-fated relationship that resulted in the birth of a child. It is the first in a trilogy of films Steers is completing that explores memories of that relationship and of becoming a mother.

For this exhibition, Steers returned to the 2006 work, building an ambitious, new installation to accompany the film. The thirteen-foot stack of beds corresponds to a central vignette, one in which the couple appears at a crossroads. On one of the lower bed frames is a pillow made of old-fashioned film-screen material. In a poetic gesture to the source of her motifs, Steers projects Phantom Canyon onto the pillow.

Our gratitude is extended to The Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation, the West Foundation, Sargento Foods Inc., and the Herzfeld Foundation for major support of this exhibition and to the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding also was provided by the members of the Exhibitions & Collections Giving Circle. In addition, Arts Center programs are made possible by the generous support of its members.