Stacey Holloway received her MFA from the University of Minnesota in 2009, her BFA from Herron School of Art and Design/IUPUI in 2006, and has been living and working in Birmingham, Alabama since 2013. She currently serves as the Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In addition to teaching, Holloway is an active national mixed media artist, sculptor, and fabricator that works within a variety of media including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and interactivity. Through the exploration of storytelling and ethology, she creates work that communicate a universal societal connectivity.
Holloway has exhibited throughout the Midwest, South and East Coast in galleries such as Wayfarers, Brooklyn, NY; FM Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 924 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, IN; and Huntsville Museum of Art, AL. Holloway has received distinguished awards such as the 2021 Visual Arts Fellowship through the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the 2017 SECAC Artist’s Fellowship, and the 2010 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship through the Central Indiana Community Foundation in Indianapolis.
I am a visual storyteller. The form of the narrative has been used for centuries to entertain, to preserve culture and to instill morals. Stories can be used to bridge cultures, languages and age barriers. Similar to Aesop, my interests lie in the animal realm and I use specific animal attributes to explore how our formative process make up who we might become, or who we are attempting to become. Within the animal kingdom, strong societies are formed within herds, unusual interspecies friendships and adaptation is required, pure instinctual capabilities are necessary for survival, and body language, sounds and scents are used to declare disfavor, profess love, announce dominance, and express pain. Bestial forms, found objects and installations then become the place for metaphors and narratives of uncertainty and longing.
Fabricated Interactions During Social Distancing, 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we began to hear the term “social distancing” more and more, so I became interested in the idea of isolation and the desire we all have to interact with each other. I first thought of some multi-person wearable prosthetics that I had created in the past and wondered how I could do something similar, but instead project the idea of a single person that longed for human interaction so bad that they would make these contraptions or prosthetic devices from materials and objects on-hand to mimic physical connection.
Many of these contraptions are meant to mimic interactions either between family members or friends/team members or of an intimate relationship. The first of the series, the Eskimo kiss, was initially created because I missed my mother so much, who lives 3 states away and I was unable to visit her. My mother always gave us Eskimo kisses as a form of affection and then this lead me to begin to investigate the recreation of other actions that I longed for, such as my grandmother’s aggressive, yet loving peck on the cheek, the high fives from my co-ed softball teammates, or the handing over of a tool from a studio assistant.
This series of work has really helped me think more about why skin-to-skin contact is so important for humans both physically and mentally. When we initiate physical contact, our bodies release hormones and stress and when we are starved of this contact, we can become more stressed or anxious. The pandemic has really impacted myself, as well as anyone who is single and distanced from family and loved ones either due to physical location or due to their profession. The silicone body parts really do successfully mimic that of real skin, so when I do interact with one of these contraptions, I am physically reducing stress, which helps me mentally as well. I hope that the humor and process of this body of work will inspire our communities to stay mentally positive during our current situation and will, hopefully, influence others to find creative outlets to fill their time of isolation and to keep finding ways to safely communicate with each other.