Fully vaccinated guests may explore the galleries without a mask. We encourage mask wearing despite vaccination status.
We recommend purchasing tickets in advance for Saturday and Sunday admission (non-members).
CLOSED. OPEN TOMORROW AT 10
OPEN
1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art

2021 Winner


Stephanie J. Woods

Stephanie J. Woods’ body of work examines performative behavior and the cognitive effects of forced cultural assimilation including the effects of intergenerational trauma, the politicization of afro hair and the everyday coping devices and affirmations Black people establish to survive. She further explores these concepts by using textiles, photography, video, sculpture, community-engaged projects and material language. Her multimedia works utilize symbolic imagery and materials that reference Black American culture and the southern American experience, such as hair weave, satin bonnets, afro hair, Carolina red clay and sweet tea.

Currently based in Albuquerque, N.M., Woods is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary art at The University of New Mexico. Her passion for interdisciplinary practices and material language is evident through her collaborations and implementation of symbolic materials that examine performative behavior, domestic spaces and alternative realities that reference Black American culture and her experiences growing up in the American South.

Woods earned a Master of Fine Arts in new media sculpture and is the recipient of several residencies and fellowships, including Black Rock Senegal, the Fine Arts Work Center fellowship, ACRE Residency, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists Residency and Penland School of Craft. Her work is featured in the permanent collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, located in Richmond, V.A. She has also exhibited her work at Smack Mellon and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, both located in Brooklyn, N.Y. Additionally, her work has been featured in BOMB Magazine, Art Papers, Burnaway and the Boston Art Review.

“I became aware of the 1858 Prize in 2014 while I was pursuing my MFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,” says Woods. “During that time, I saw that artists Sonya Clark, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Joyce Scott and Ebony G. Patterson were either winners or finalists of this award. Seeing the recognition of other Black women artists like myself excited me! 2021 was my fourth year applying, and it means so much to be recognized by the place where you come from. I was born in Seneca, S.C. and raised in Charlotte, N.C. My experiences growing up in the South have influenced so many aspects of my artwork and who I am.”

Lavender Notes by Stephanie J. Woods, 2019,  Upholstered satin prints featuring hand made satin bonnets embellished with gold text that states “i am beautifully bold,” “make magic, create, heal,” and “fly, stand, overcome.” Burlap dyed with sweet tea, textile foil, heat transfer vinyl, and upholstered custom made window cornice inspired frames.

Lavender Notes by Stephanie J. Woods, 2019, Upholstered satin prints featuring hand made satin bonnets embellished with gold text that states “i am beautifully bold,” “make magic, create, heal,” and “fly, stand, overcome.” Burlap dyed with sweet tea, textile foil, heat transfer vinyl, and upholstered custom made window cornice inspired frames.

Portrait of the artist.

Portrait of the artist.

the wait of it by Stephanie J. Woods, 2020, Site-specific five-channel installation, featuring moving audio photographs. Nine years of detangled afro hair formed into a loosely woven vessel, hand-harvested red clay from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, audio poem by poet Laura Neal, and an original score by artist Johannes Barfield. Installation view at Oakwood Arts, Richmond, VA.

the wait of it by Stephanie J. Woods, 2020, Site-specific five-channel installation, featuring moving audio photographs. Nine years of detangled afro hair formed into a loosely woven vessel, hand-harvested red clay from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, audio poem by poet Laura Neal, and an original score by artist Johannes Barfield. Installation view at Oakwood Arts, Richmond, VA.

the wait of it II by Stephanie J. Woods, 2020, Site-specific public art installation at the Richmond community hospital located on Virginia Union University Campus in Richmond, VA. Nine years of detangled afro hair formed into a loosely woven vessel, hand-harvested red clay from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and umbrella tree. Dimensions Variable.

the wait of it II by Stephanie J. Woods, 2020, Site-specific public art installation at the Richmond community hospital located on Virginia Union University Campus in Richmond, VA. Nine years of detangled afro hair formed into a loosely woven vessel, hand-harvested red clay from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and umbrella tree. Dimensions Variable.

A Radiant Revolution III, II, and I by Stephanie J. Woods, 2018, Burlap dyed with sweet tea, woven brass chains, t-shirt, textile foil, polished furniture vinyl, dresser mirror frame, and upholstered taffeta print

Inspired by graphic t-shirts featuring phrases such as “My Black is Beautiful,” Strong Black Girl,” and “Black Girl Magic.” The t-shirts are captured in a series of photographs that relate these expressions of empowerment to the history of head wraps. There was a time in history when sumptuary laws banned black women from showing our hair. However, the head wrap then and now represents courage, ancestry, collective identity, and a uniform of rebellion that signifies the resistance to loss of self-definition. Each photograph is upholstered inside of an inverted dresser mirror frame and protected with polished furniture vinyl. Behind each photograph drapes hand-sewn burlap tapestries that are dyed with sweet tea giving the pieces a copper color. The burlap tapestries are also embellished with gold scrambled text.

A Radiant Revolution III, II, and I by Stephanie J. Woods, 2018, Burlap dyed with sweet tea, woven brass chains, t-shirt, textile foil, polished furniture vinyl, dresser mirror frame, and upholstered taffeta print Inspired by graphic t-shirts featuring phrases such as “My Black is Beautiful,” Strong Black Girl,” and “Black Girl Magic.” The t-shirts are captured in a series of photographs that relate these expressions of empowerment to the history of head wraps. There was a time in history when sumptuary laws banned black women from showing our hair. However, the head wrap then and now represents courage, ancestry, collective identity, and a uniform of rebellion that signifies the resistance to loss of self-definition. Each photograph is upholstered inside of an inverted dresser mirror frame and protected with polished furniture vinyl. Behind each photograph drapes hand-sewn burlap tapestries that are dyed with sweet tea giving the pieces a copper color. The burlap tapestries are also embellished with gold scrambled text.

Weave Idolatry by Stephanie J. Woods, 2016, Woven synthetic/human hair weave, black body paint, salvaged antique gold frames, window cornices, and wool, dimensions variable.

Installation view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC.

Weave Idolatry by Stephanie J. Woods, 2016, Woven synthetic/human hair weave, black body paint, salvaged antique gold frames, window cornices, and wool, dimensions variable. Installation view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC.