She created two pieces of art, two bronze heads, to be exact, and she wanted the waters of Boca Grande to create their personalities. So she asked her dad to help out.
Stacy discussed the two bronze heads as she sat in the home of her parents, John and DeeAnn Phillips. Their home is full of her artwork, from leather to clay to bronze. The couple recently moved off the island, but just down the road to Cape Haze. Stacy has considered this area as her “home” for more than 20 years, though she lives part of the year in Park City, Utah.
Working in many mediums, she got the idea for the heads from a concept of human nature: Imprinting.
“The concept is how our history imprints itself on us,” she said. “The heads are neither male, nor female. But their history is clearly imprinted on their surface.”View More images >>
The ocean plays a part in a lot of her work, and when she realized that she could create a unique patina by submerging bronze in saltwater, she asked her father if he would put the sculptures in a net and suspend them in the Gulf. He was more than willing to help. That was September of 2010.
“I kind of forgot about them for awhile,” she said. “I was working so much, time just went by. Every once in awhile I would think about them, though.”
When she returned home this Christmas, John reminded her about the “sunken treasure.” He had tied them to a piling at the north end of the island. They decided to make a family outing of the rediscovery, and traveled to where the heads had been tied in water suspension.
“We went over to piling where he tied them on and the rope was gone,” she said. “We thought they were gone. Then I said, ’No, they’re down there, we just have to find them.’ Then it became a treasure hunt.
They started poking around and felt something, in the water. They happened to have a rake, and started feeling around at the bottoms, approximately eight feet down.
“My brother was bending over the side, I was hanging onto his ankles, and he started pulling them up but the bag started to rip,” she explained. “Then we had to find a way to carefully bring them up without it ripping further. We got the momentum going, finally, and pulled them up. They were full of sludge, so they were pretty heavy. In my eyes, they’re beautiful.”
She was not wrong in her assumption that nature’s patina could not be beat. What she could have tried to duplicate in her studio was done naturally, over a year and half’s time.
“To give control to Mother Nature, to see what happens naturally, it’s amazing,” she said. “They were full of crabs and worms, there was stuff all over them. But after I just lightly hosed them down I could see what colors had come out. Turquoise, ochre, purple …”
The heads, which are reminiscent of the enormous Easter Island sculptures, now have some barnacles and shells added to their surface. They’re ready for sale, but Stacy said she wants to give people from the island a chance to become their new owners.
It could be considered a bit of a privilege for art aficionados in Boca Grande. Stacy is represented by the Coda Gallery in New York, and still shows work with them there, as well as at their galleries in Palm Desert and Park City.
Bronze isn’t her only medium, though, and she considers herself somewhat obsessed with different textures. Ceramics, wood, collage work, bookbinding … whatever she thinks is going to communicate what’s in her head and heart at the time, she explores.
Back to the subject of the heads. They were originally made from clay, then sent to a foundry to be cast in bronze. She imprinted them with seashell designs before they were dropped into the Gulf, and what Stacy began, nature completed.
“I’d love for them to find a home on the island,” Stacy said. “If I don’t, I’ll probably take them back to the studio with me. I just like the whole idea of them being on the island for that time. If I take them back to
Utah people would understand the aesthetics, but they probably wouldn’t understand what it means for them to have been created here. Or the spirit of the island.
“If every piece was bought with such love, how lucky could we be.”
Stacy will be around the island until the middle of January. She can be reached at (435) 640-1177 or at stacyphillipsart.com.
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