Southern Prize Spotlight: Stephanie J. Woods of North Carolina

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Stephanie J Woods
Stephanie J. Woods was the North Carolina finalist for the Southern Prize, for which she received $5,000.

The concepts surrounding Stephanie J. Woods’s art are rooted in African-American culture, but the questions she raises are universal. Working in photography, sculpture, film, collage, and installation, the Charlotte-based artist asks us to consider how gender roles, racial signifiers, and beauty standards become social norms.
Woods received her MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was the 2017 North Carolina state finalist for the inaugural Southern Prize given by the Atlanta organization South Arts, as well as a 2016 North Carolina Arts Council Fellow.
Stephanie J. Woods, Weave Idolatry installation
Stephanie J. Woods, Weave Idolatry, hand-woven hair weave and black body paint, photos by Johannes James Barfield: “A series of five woven masks made of synthetic and human hair. The masks are abstractions of different hairstyles and personalities. They also function as freestanding sculptural objects, as well as performance art props. The installation is my interpretation of an altarpiece placed within a residential Southern setting.”

Stephanie J. Woods, Weave Idolatry (detail)
Stephanie J. Woods, detail from Weave Idolatry.

Stephanie J. Woods, Gelled Down Baby Hair
Stephanie J. Woods, Gelled Down Baby Hair II: “In the wall installation Gelled Down Baby Hair, I used brown Ampro hair gel, and synthetic hair weave on reflective metallic paper, to create a decorative line drawing. This work was inspired by recollections of me gelling down the edges of my hair into designs during adolescence. During the creation of this piece, I used a comb and brush on the paper as I would on my skin. The result, has a gold glare, which is the product of the brown hair gel staining the surface.”

Stephanie J. Woods, How to Get Halle Berry Hair
Stephanie J. Woods, How to Get Halle Berry Hair, 2015, wool, rollers, brown paper bags, wig, synthetic hair weave.

Stephanie J. Woods, Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey
Stephanie J. Woods, Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey , 3 24-by-36-inch prints showing Woods wearing shades of the Covergirl Queen liquid makeup collection: “How do others see us, and how do we see ourselves? The photography series Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey questions and confronts the effects of colorism on women of color.”

Stephanie J. Woods
Stephanie J. Woods, Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey, How do others see us, and how do we see ourselves? The photography series Spicy Brown Rich Mink and Golden Honey, questions and confronts the effects of colorism on women of color.

Stephanie J. Woods removing CoverGirl Queen liquid makeup for the series Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey.
Stephanie J. Woods removing CoverGirl Queen liquid makeup for the series Spicy Brown, Rich Mink, and Golden Honey.

Stephanie J. Woods, Bed Notes
Stephanie J. Woods, Bed Notes, 2017, dresser mirror frames, polished vinyl, black roses, home decor fabric, crocheted blanket and family photo: “Presently I am working on a series of sculptures that explore concepts related to public and private spaces. Looking at the ways in which we adorn our bodies and interior spaces; what we choose to present and what we decide to hide

Stephanie J. Woods, Bednotes
Stephanie J. Woods, Bed Notes, 2017; polished vinyl, black roses, home decor fabric, crocheted blanket and family photo.

Stephanie J. Woods, Bednotes.
Stephanie J. Woods, from the Bed Notes series.

Stephanie J. Woods, Bednotes
Stephanie J. Woods, from the Bednotes series.