Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Artist of the Week: Stacy Scibelli

Kiss Off, 2009, c-print - kiss machine, 20"x 24"

Stacy Scibelli: incredible artist, seamstress, dominatrix. Just kidding about that last part. Though her work does often involve a lot of leather and participants submitting to wearing and interacting with her work, it’s more about the connection being made (or not being made) than any sort of discipline being wielded.

Sabotage, 2010, 36"x 24"x 2

One of my favorite pieces is called Sabotage, a “tickle machine” wherein two people are snapped into the apparatus, their arms confined in sleeves that direct their hands straight to the other participant’s armpits, daring you to tickle one another until you both collapse and pee yourselves. There’s an element of trust involved in the interaction. In order to fully participate, you’ve got to let yourself be truly vulnerable. I’m really intrigued by the subtle violence of this gesture as well, how you can squeal and scream and try and twist away from the aggressor, you might even laugh until you cry from what this person is doing to you, and your only means of getting them to stop is to retaliate, to tickle them back as hard as you can, and you’re both trapped in this hysterical battle until one of you screams uncle. 

I Don't Want To Get Over You (install view), 2008, c-print/costume/sculpture

I Don't Want To Get Over You, 2008, c-print/costume/sculpture

I Don’t Want To Get Over You is another one-on-one participatory piece that makes you feel like you’ve been set up on a strange and tenuous date. Two people sit across from each other at a table, but instead of reaching over for a spontaneous hand-hold, you’re required to slip your hands inside a fur-lined conduit that lies between you. You’re kind of blindly feeling your way through a soft warm tunnel that narrows until finally the sweaty tips of your fingers meet your counterpart’s in the middle. Maybe you lock eyes and maybe you look away from each other, but there’s definitely an intimacy that takes place. There’s also a very different interaction that happens when you do this with someone you know versus doing it with a total stranger. I felt so exhilarated when I experienced the work for the first time. 

Stacy’s work often has a beautiful, poignant awkwardness that I have always found fascinating. Made with Love is a project she recently completed which is a series of 500 different garments that were handmade in various hues of blue, gray, and green, each piece sewn with an armhole here, a neck hole there, all with an indistinct use and peculiar look to them. Viewers were invited to try on, wear, and interpret each piece as they saw fit, some even stretched to contain two or three people at once, creating these funny multi-headed multifarious monsters.
She also has an Etsy shop where she sells beautiful dresses and super cool leather bags and cute skirts and cat prints. Check out her online shop here and more of her art online here:

[All photos courtesy of the artist's website.]

- Cathleen


  1. Although very cool...while looking at those images I started to feel claustrophobic and could not look for very long. If I was put in that tickle machine I would freak out and probably head but the person in front of me.

  2. Huge fan of Stacy's work! I have been in a contraption or two and love the way they pull emotions of you!


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