Sylvia: A 19th Century Life Unveiled
In 2002, a small, timeworn leather trunk was discarded for garbage on a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan; it was found replete with the cherished keepsakes of a 19th century New York City woman. Thus began visual artist Stacy Renee Morrison’s self-proclaimed love affair with Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander, whose early life parallels that of Gertrude Tredwell, who lived at 29 East 4th Street.
For almost two decades, Ms. Morrison has been on an obsessive quest to weave together Sylvia’s life in the 19th century through the personal belongings she left behind — and to re-imagine it in today’s world through art and fashion.
This is the first time Sylvia’s trunk and its treasured contents will be exhibited in public. On display, an invitation to a ball honoring the Prince of Wales in 1860, letters from the Civil War, Sylvia’s journals, mourning jewelry made of human hair, paper dolls, and other ephemera. Photographs and screen-printed clothing illustrate Sylvia’s life in the present as the artist’s muse.
Stacy Renee Morrison is a visual artist who often forgets what century it is. She finds herself haunted by women who lived their lives well before her own and creates visual biographies of their pasts. When Stacy is fully present in the 21st century she teaches in the BFA Photography and Video Department and MFA Visual Narrative Departments at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Venue: Merchants House Museum
29 E. 4th St.
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