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Stephanie Land: Returning the Quiet

June 27 to September 9
Opening reception: July 9, 3 to 5pm

Returning the Quiet is a collection of work by Brooklyn-based artist Stephanie Land, including inherited pieces of Stephanie’s grandmother’s hardanger, a Norwegian linen embroidery.

The last time I saw my grandmother was a few months before she died, at age 96. She had taken sick and was in a care home in Southern Wisconsin. I surprised her with a visit from NYC to cheer her up. In the window next to her chair she had two bouquets of flowers and a small plant, drenched in afternoon sunlight. While my cousin and I sat with her, she held the small plant with both hands and slowly pruned the dying buds from the soon to be flowering buds. I remember watching and thinking, she is continuing to tend to life, tend to us, as she is moving on.

Grandma Jo had seen me through all of the phases of understanding myself - as grandmothers do, if we are lucky enough to have them - from an infant through a 36-year-old adult. In my early twenties while living in Chicago, I traveled often to Wisconsin to spend long weekends with her. Long weekends that were filled with car rides past cornfields, time moving throughout her home through the angles of sunlight and listening to stories about her life. The primary event of these weekends was the quiet her home and presence provided. A quiet that created trust between us, a quiet I couldn’t find anywhere else. A quiet that requested I sit with her and be present.

Over twenty years later I’ve come to realize the generosity of Grandma Jo’s offering. I didn’t know I needed it at that time, but the quiet space she offered helped me to process, to heal and to create safe spaces for myself and loved ones that visit. She provided a place of introspection and care for self and demonstrated how to provide one for others.

In a society that produces much noise, sometimes unavoidably, quiet isn’t commonly celebrated. The offering that Grandma Jo provided has lived on as a resource, a reservoir - something to access when needed. After her passing I realized she was hearing something I wasn’t quite ready to say. Returning the Quiet is an offering back to Grandma Jo, an homage filled with love, respect and celebration of the quiet.

Returning the Quiet encompasses The Grandma Series, a series of photographic C-prints from 2002-2005, shot on film and printed by hand in the color darkroom; Tending To, a sculpture created in 2017, built of three pinewood tiers and ninety-six hand cast vessels, and inspired by Grandma Jo’s death in 2016; and HomeSeen, shot on film in my parents’ home in Scottsdale, Arizona, which continues to look at the ways the women in my life have created space for each other and honors the skillful handwork embroidery passed down through our generations.

Returning the Quiet is a celebration of women’s creativity, consideration, and care, and a reflection of the past so that we might better understand the future.