MAGNOLIA transplanted

Ellie Stanislav 

BFA Senior Exhibition

Kresge Art Center | Gallery 101

April 8 – April 12, 2024 

Closing Reception: Friday, April 12 | 6 – 8 pm 

Our lives are informed by the events of our past-influencing and constructing our futures. As such, this body of work is shaped by these same perspectives. My work creates a space for me to first explore and then communicate my own ideas about place and displacement, memories and stories, stemming from this rearview mirror perspective of my personal history and the hardships my family faced early on in my life. The tiles of Magnolia, Transplanted are artifacts of this exploration.

Clay is one such material that, when treated correctly, is malleable over and over again. It can be torn down and reformed, rebuilt until it becomes what you need. However, once fired, you must accept the change that has been made. Both flowers modeled in the tiles, the magnolia and the black-eyed Susan, represent New Orleans and the origin, or birth, of my family. Despite the destruction New Orleans experienced from Hurricane Katrina, the city persevered. We began anew, and the flowers proved resilient, just like my parents. Of course, accepting the change, pulling up our roots, and relinquishing our ties to New Orleans proved difficult for me. My heartache for a life I could have had persisted.

My work is a form of reflection and a way to nurture reconnection, while also accepting the change precipitated when New Orleans flooded. Finding and making these connections both preserve a past I am building and are durable in ways that a flood could do no damage. Like my tiles, once fired in the kiln, plastered to a wall and grouted in place next to each other, they have a permanent presence wherever they stand.