October 2013, review of the Junkyard Essays by author and critic Owen Edwards
Stacy Gibboni is a painter and a photographer. So she takes in the world first and foremost, visually. Eye-to-eye, one could say. As a painter, she sees something in her mind and it ends up on canvas or paper. Or she looks at some ordinary object – a kitchen chair, say – and transforms it from what she sees into what she thinks we ought to see.
As a photographer, she is more apt to be bound to reality. The camera can lie, of course, but it cannot imagine. Unlike painting, which may be realistic or surrealistic, figurative or abstract, photography must at least begin with the facts of what lies before the lens. That is the source of its strength, but the source of its challenge lies between seeing precisely and making art.
Gibboni confronts that challenge, with great success, by using her skills not just as a photographer, but as a narrator. Whatever else it is, a photograph is always a tiny slice of time, a split second nick out of the continuum no one and nothing can escape. And though that slice may seem definitive, it is filled with implications of a past and a future. Even a flower, photographed in the rigorously controlled circumstances of a studio, was once a bud and before too long will be dry and dead. The innate pathos of photography is that while it can stop time, we cannot.
As a narrative artist, Gibboni is as interested in what went on before and after she took a photograph as in the near instantaneous moment of the picture present.
The weary old saying - "One photograph is worth a thousand words," probably invented by the editors of the early Life Magazine - may be true (though as someone who has written thousands of words about photographs, I tend not to believe it.) But in the pictures of this provocative exhibition, Junkyard Essays, Gibboni clearly shows that by adding just a few, perfectly chosen words, actual rather than implied, she can remind us of the human narrative embedded in every photograph of inanimate things.
In 1999, Gibboni went to a junkyard in her native state of New Jersey, under the graveyard gray of a Northeastern winter sky. The place was one of those lugubrious burial grounds that accept the unhappy endings of America’s love of the car. Eventually, these discarded relics are crushed into cubes to be melted and turned into new things, possibly even new cars. But meanwhile they wait in a kind of limbo. Using a resolutely non-artistic approach – what the artist calls “snapshot style” – Gibboni took pictures of the cars that had been towed into this purgatory, awaiting some final judgement. Using the license plates and interviews with men who worked in the junkyard, she drew from the battered metal the tales – mostly sad, sometimes not – that each wreck gave up. As she has written about the experience, “A car comes in, a story comes out.”
Gibboni takes these stories and molds them into tone poems, most of them in a minor key. Each story has a simple title: the license plate of the car. A pretty, hard-working young woman saves up her paychecks to buy a car to make her escape to another life, and on her way home – first drive – her old life ends but no new life begins. A newly-transferred emergency responder takes an unmarked turn on the way to a pile-up and ends up as the next emergency. An old woman in a maroon Oldsmobile heads home with her groceries, “planning on roasting a chicken, not herself.”
Everyone who has been in an accident (and survived), has recounted the “what ifs.” What if you hadn’t looked away from the road ahead for just that split second? What if when you didn’t see that stop sign no one had been coming the other way? What if that idiot in the veering Chevy had had only one beer instead of a six pack? Gibboni’s haunting photos and texts are about all the what ifs that failed.
It is perhaps significant to these works that Stacy Gibboni lives in Venice, Italy, a city where the present cannot escape the past, where some of the greatest artists in history have piled up the bodies of martyrs and saints, and where the bones and desiccated flesh of such hallowed, haloed superstars as Santa Lucia and San Zaccaria are on public view. In Venice, nothing is ever really dead, and nothing is really gone. So if her adopted city has played its part in shaping Gibboni’s vision, it may have been the most natural thing in the world for her to find lost souls in a New Jersey junkyard.
Site 95 Journal - October 29, 2012 Featured Artist - Stacy Gibboni Journal Issue No. 1, Volume 11
Interview Scott Raynor - July 2012
Venice Expert and Artist Stacy Gibboni
I met artist Stacy Gibboni when I was an artist in residence in Venice. I rented an apartment from her in a spectacular area called Carnareggio and we became fast friends. Her insights to the city of Venice are spot on. Please check out her art at stacy gibboni To learn more about her husband’s restaurant go to Bentigodi di Chef Domenico
Read the interview and learn more about the tours!
insightful travels and tours
Hyperallergic - July 3, 2012
A View from the Easel - artist studios 19th installment by Philip A Hartigan
Stacy Gibboni, Mary Addison Hackett, Grace Roselli, Sam Trout, Abel Macias
Visit this art blog / magazine to see all the editions of View from the Easel and other cool topics:
(Junkyard Essays) Riciclarti
Riciclarti - Special Guest Artist Installation
Padova, Italy May 2010
p. 66 translated from the Italian
In a civilization of signs it is possible to speak about the body without showing it. Life, death, fear and desire become signs, in a process of separation from the physical where an exasperated accumulation becomes matter. New matter and new body. This very clearly visible in the 1960's work of Warhol's Death and Disaster Series, photos of incidents, explosions, car crashes appropriated from the numbed pages of a newspaper and obsessively reworked until the images acquired a new and alarming status. The automobile a proposed prosthesis or substitute of the body. It is a mechanical matter that our senses associate to desire, freedom, danger. In the 1996 film Crash, by David Cronenberg, the process arrives at an extreme outcome: new forms of sexuality are born thanks to the mechanical incident, Eros and Thanatos melt into the street, the scars on the skin of Rosanna Waters become the symbol of a new illness.
In JMC Salvage Stacy Gibboni uses a 1968 Mercedes recovered from demolition in Italy to portray new matter. The Mercedes infirm becomes the artist canvas upon which photographic images of wrecked vehicles are patched together like a bandage telling a story. On top of the car, a bed covered with a blanket of signs: the plates, ripped and pulled from wrecked cars by the artist in a New Jersey salvage yard.
The bed, the soft equivalent of the automobile, a matter technologically poor and analogous to the body, here carefully lying down its hard work, its nocturnal dreams, its desires. The accumulation of signs surpassing the fears. A blanket of plates covers the form like an omen of death.
- Fausto Tomei
Curator Natasha Bordiglia
Junkyared Essays 54th Venice Biennale - Collateral exhibition -May 2011
It has been a long journey: from 2001 to 2011, from New Jersey to Venice. For the first time, Stacy Gibboni presents Junkyard Essays: a selection of snapshots and poems.
Usually using paint, this time using photography and text, the artist explores notions of identity, perception and place. Gibboni’s work prompts us to consider the ways we see and understand our personal experience and memory, the passage of time, and the changing conditions around us. One's identity and memory can be as changeable and fleeting as the weather, as time itself.
Stacy Gibboni needed time to conceive, compile and complete this project. The junkyard was shot in 2001, ten years later the Essays are presented against this snapshot aesthetic.
The text is circulating, joining, dividing; this movement fills the reader with uncertainty as to which verse will appear in the next interval. The tension between the written and the blank/void, between the told and the untold, between what is revealed and concealed is as relevant here as
it is in the snapshots. Such a text is created not only to be read, but also to be seen, the words are treated as materials revealing Stacy’s love for the medium of painting.
Snapshots are almost invariably views of people or the landscape, made at eye level, with the subject in middle distance and in natural light. The central placement of the subject often allows random bits of reality to sneak into the edges of the picture plane.
This unplanned marginalia that endows some snapshots with complexity and humanity is found in all the images of the Junkyard Essays. This marginalia, (edges, like notes discovered in the margin of a book) we find also in the poems.
The shape of a loop seems to be most accurately implied here. Loop as movement presupposes joint rotation between here and there, up and down, edge and center. A loop is not a circle for it lacks the symmetry. Moreover, it can have several centers. Loop is described also by temporal syntax, the same syntax we find in this work: there is always a ‘‘before’’ and an ‘‘after’’, an interval between ‘‘not yet’’ and ‘‘not anymore’’, between ‘‘it was’’ and ‘‘it is now’’. Loop is the movement we are obliged to enter to relate to Junkyard Essays, a loop of notes, of comments, of the snapshots of life.
text translated from the Italian