Jess Rees


Stella's World

Entering Stella's World, one was first hit with a scent. While ascending the stairs, before getting to the landing outside the door, a dustiness hit you. When the door was opened, you entered into a small hall, passing a partially functioning bathroom, a closet whose door could no longer shut, a kitchen whose table tops and counters were not visible under the once useful objects that covered them. A right turn put you into a dusty dining room, where a chandelier illuminated and nearly touched the pile of things on the table it hung over. Another turn and you entered a sitting room, bedroom and living room mounded from the floor mid-way to the ceiling, just as high as an elderly woman could reach. A little clearing existed that lead through piles of stuff, A canyon path through the mountains of shoes, magazines, cookbooks, and handbags. Dry cleaning, umbrellas, photo albums, and quilts. Lace table cloths, expired medicine, winter coats, and empty cosmetic bottles. Decades old business cards, crayons, blank notepads and shrunk wrapped door mats. Letters, vacuums, hat boxes and sewing pins. All mixed together in strange but perhaps familiar ways.
Stella lived in this apartment until the end of her life. Leaving no direct descendants, her legacy was her home. She collected objects that presumably were important to her, but to others might seem burdensome. Her possessions took over her ability to freely move about the place she lived.
When she choose to go outside, whether carrying it in her mind or not, this physical part of the way she lived must have been left behind - shadows concealed behind the closed door. What was left behind for the artist to discover about her person, was only through the possessions she kept.

I collected all of the shiny, metallic and mirrored objects from Stella's World. After cleaning and polishing each of them, they were assembled together in a frame, objects overlapping, densely interwoven, and pressing against one another. The result is a mirror large enough to reflect a full person. It is a simultaneous reflection of Stella - through her objects - and a distorted reflection of the looker themselves. Stella's shadows become a mirror that we can see ourselves through.

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May God’s Love be Reflected in your Face - Assemblage 80’ x 24’
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Trust God - Assemblage