Biennial Artists in their Own Words: Stacy Howe

Biennial Artists in their Own Words: Stacy Howe

Can you tell me a little about your artistic practice?

My practice, much like my concepts, encompasses a marriage of dualities. My art is both mannered and wild at the same time. I am creating pieces that pair subjects of beauty and repulsion with violence and humor. My process utilizes research and technical control while engaging in a surrealist game of chance and automatism.

Although I am drawing on paper, the process behaves more like collage. In
the preliminary stages, I draw from an arsenal of paper cutouts. Arranging and layering each element has me applying freehand drawing, draftsman techniques, projection, and trace to surrealist frottage and fumage.

How do the pieces in the PMA Biennial relate to your other work? What are the guiding principles throughout?

The pieces for the Biennial depict nature behaving badly, as often seen in my work. As Maine is a place of grand and sublime beauty, I wanted to show work that has a menacing allure. I find it curious how we covet and collect souvenirs from the natural world. We adorn ourselves with gemstones, shells, and ivory. We facet wreaths and sculpt hedges. Nature, however, is completely indifferent towards us. It finds a way to survive in the deepest recesses of our world and ultimately our imagination, becoming preternatural in our minds. While looking at my work, I hope the public sees something fascinating and brutal, making a primordial connection of life and death.

Tell me more about your work in this Biennial.

I felt a strong desire to make my work complementary to Maine and its landscape. The mystique of the forest and ocean attracted me here despite my urbanity. There is a fringe culture here, pockets of artists that include occultists and hunters, circuit benders and potato pickers. Portland seems to be the place where these cultures and vocations overlap.

What is it like being an artist in Maine?

Being an artist in Portland is affordable and the community is accessible. All artists, regardless of experience and representation, seem to have a mutual respect for one another.

In the past seven years, I have avoided ephemeral works and have honed in
on my drawing and mixed media. As
a child, my family would vacation in Wells. Perhaps the memories of chasing horseshoe crabs and amassing piles of seaweed are bleeding into my work.


This text originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Inside the Circle, the PMA's quartlery members magazine. To get content like this and a whole lot more delivered right to your doorstep, become a member today.

Stacy Howe appears at the PMA on Thursday, November 19, as part of our Artist Intervention series.

Photo of Howe in her studio is courtesy of Sigrid Harmon.

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October 15, 2015
Director of Communications

Graeme is a Maine native who, after ten years living in New York and the west coast, decided to come back and set up shop in Portland. In addition to the PMA, he's held positions at GQ, Rogues Gallery, and Might & Main. He lives in Yarmouth, where he spends most of his free time with his daughters, Ramona and Maude.