Stephanie Palazeke is an artist based in Schenectady, New York. Her work deals with how societal expectations shape or restrict women. Influences include Mary Reid Kelley, Yayoi Kusama, and Eleanor Antin, as well as Christian Feminism and science fiction. She received her Bachelor of Science in Art Education at The College of Saint Rose in May 2014 and her Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the State University at Albany in May 2017. She has exhibited at Albany Center Gallery, Knockdown Center, The Hyde Collection, Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Center, University Art Museum at Albany, Esther Massry Gallery, Collar Works, and the New York State Museum. Her work is permanently held at the University Art Museum at Albany and the Rotterdam Public Library.
In the invented worlds of my video narratives, I embody characters inspired by women in the Bible who dealt with norms so severely enforced that their well being depended on subscribing to them. In their original context, these women, positioned as “other,” often surprise us with their wit, acts of faith, and cunning ability to survive whatever the circumstance. I consider these women to be part of my lineage, my Biblical ancestry, and I synthesize each of their stories with my own to reveal linkages to the present. Christians use Bible stories like these for moral and spiritual instruction, but by taking the characters out of a sacred text and inserting them in a surrogate, digital world, I offer these women a chance to be seen without traditional ideals impressed upon them. Each of my characters explores her psychological territory, or mindspace, reacting to and transforming the space as the narrative progresses. The video game aesthetic of the mindspace creates a landscape in which the character and her environment wrestle back and forth, each attempting to control or limit the other. The costumes are designed specifically for each character, visually defining her struggle and creating tension between her body and the space. The absurd costumes and actions of the women create a playful atmosphere in the midst of a struggle.