<< Call & Response Artists

Erin Stafford

parasol, velvet, fabric trim, tassels

Fiddle-dee-de, I really don’t care do U

Parasol, velvet, fabric trim

Touching on ideas of history, nostalgia, and fantasy, Erin Stafford’s studio practice investigates the aesthetics of bygone eras combined with philistine sensibilities through various forms and craft-based materials. Stafford has invested in a new body of work that challenges her own complex and often troubling white, female identity. Employing various materials and found objects, she explores the complexity of her relationship to nostalgia and behavioral propriety in works that demonstrate her commitment to artistic exploration both materially and conceptually.

European decorative and early American arts serve as a style guide to illustrate artworks that dissect self-soothing nostalgic desires, which distract middle-class white women from the more dire realities outside of the privileged lifestyle. Stafford’s goal is to invite an examination of the snake oil panacea of bygone era bliss, interweaving various imagery with homemade craft materials: whips made of human hair, parasols with ornamental textiles, and folding fans. Each object using a combination of complex references: BDSM fetishes, decay, and infestations, hairstyles of Civil War Era women with flowers and ribbons, gendered double standards, harmful ideas of gentile hospitality. The parasol, for example, was an aristocratic tool used to prevent the effects of the sun on a lady’s skin, keeping it white and “pure”. The personal fan is also a display of social status and was often used to reinforce etiquette and therefore, societal racism. Many of the items she has used have a functional purpose while at the same time allowing a lady to contribute to a racist and misogynistic message. Through the perpetuation of racism, women are often stuck in confining gender roles reinforced by a facade of nostalgia. Stafford’s intent is to expose the uncomfortable underbelly of southern living that has offered protection to white women, with its decaying roots deeply buried by gentile ideals of the past.

Erin Stafford, Fiddle-dee-de, I really don’t care do U, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist

PHOTO GALLERY

Erin Stafford, Fiddle-dee-de, I really don’t care do U, 2020; Freeing the White Nipple, 2020; Southern Maid Circle Jerk, 2020; Flogger Flower Pop, 2020; Blight Flight, 2020. Images courtesy of the artist

Purchase this artwork and others from the Call & Response exhibition online at MCD’s Artists Marketplace.

ARTIST MARKETPLACE

ARTIST BIO

Erin Stafford’s aesthetic tendencies are reflected in her studio practice as a result of her affluent upbringing in Dallas, Texas where she found upper-middle class expectations full of irony and contradiction. This sense of cultural refinement, which included various forms of ritual and tradition, shaped her identity until 2002, when she began her art education at the University of North Texas. It was here that she was surrounded by eccentric artists and jazz musicians, which inspired her to challenge established social conventions. After receiving her MFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2009, she returned to her hometown where she continues her studio practice along with teaching and curatorial endeavors. Her most recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition entitled Lovesick at Kirk Hopper Fine Art in Dallas, TX, a group exhibition entitled Lost Eden at Galveston Art Center, curated by Dennis Nance, and inclusion in the 2017 Texas Biennial, curated by Leslie Moody Castro which featured both a sculptural installation and resin casted eggs made while as an artist-in-residence with Caetani Cultural Centre in Vernon, British Columbia. Additionally, she is also working toward a two-person show with Heyd Fontenot at the Ft. Worth Community Art Center in 2021. She has also been awarded The Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art and is currently a host on the podcast Artists Talk Movies.

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