The artistic endeavors of sculptor Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet are rooted in her Southern heritage and are described by the artist as Southern Gothic. Like the notable authors of the Southern Gothic literary tradition (think Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor and Harper Lee,) Spencer-Stonestreet focuses on the American South, examining cultural values and social norms. Drawing from her Southern upbringing, Spencer-Stonestreet’s artworks are somewhat autobiographical and manifest as visual commentary. According to the artist, “Like the literary genre, my work presents the complicated (darker) side of American life – cultural complexities of our domestic roles and expectations.”
Fascinated by the layers of meaning, signals and desires that exist within the home, Spencer-Stonestreet manipulates furniture and other domestic objects - she claws, shoots, and scratches, as well as fixes, improves, and elevates. These familiar forms, deconstructed and then reconfigured, attempt to raise questions in the viewer about his or her relationship to family and objects and encourage the viewer to think critically about the social assumptions and family politics at play in their lives.
Even though much of Spencer-Stonestreet’s work centers on what she refers to as the complicated side of life, not to be overlooked are the intrusions of grace – moments of tenderness, redemption and purity – almost imperceptible, but there none the less.