Thriving in Place: Cindy Stokes - Traces
36 x 25", sumi ink on paper
Since March, like everyone I’ve grappled with social isolation, loss of anticipation, fear of an invisible threat, the rekindling of racial justice activity, and living with uncertainty. To bring back variety and adventure while sticking close to home, I’ve used this time to experiment in my studio. A photographer for 20 years making primarily black-and-white abstracts, I had already started manipulating paper through folding, crumpling and curling to shape photographs into sculptural objects. Since March, I added sumi ink and mark-making to the mix. Inspired by the massive waterfalls of Iceland, I was looking for fluidity and movement, both in the ink’s marks and in the paper’s form. I dripped, splattered, painted and poured ink onto numerous papers (and sometimes myself!) to learn how it behaved and have eventually found methods I’m pleased with. When the paper’s dry, I transform it more by folding, crushing, tearing and curving to achieve my vision. A series of works is evolving, some that combine photographs with inked paper and others only ink and paper. My piece Traces in this exhibition is the first finished work of the group.
Spending countless hours studying cells under the microscope during graduate school initiated my interest in the seen world and photography as a way of recording it. Initially a means of conveying information, over time photography became a way for me to explore ideas and emotions and to tell stories. My photography focuses on found objects and scenes with a strong inclination towards abstraction, which feels to me more representative of life’s ambiguities than representative imagery. I’ve been featured at Leonardo events and Shooting the West and exhibited nationally and internationally. My interests include handmade and photo books, alternative processes and materials, manipulation of paper, and the interplay of images in multiples. I reside and have a studio in Redwood City, CA.