Snelling, Tracey

Tracey Snelling, Oakland, California, USA


Driving down the street at night, I look at the lit windows of the houses that I pass, and I wonder who lives there. What is going on right at this moment behind that curtain or drawn shade? An old motel along the side of the highway sits broken and abandoned. I want to know the stories of the people who stayed there, the history of the people who owned it, and why it is no longer inhabited. Better than sifting through true stories for an interesting one, I prefer to make up profiles of the inhabitants by leaving subtle clues that can be interpreted in many ways.

Influenced by film, landscape, books, and architecture, I create sculptures, photographs, and installations of structures. Overlooked and neglected buildings suddenly become the focus, receiving the attention they deserve. Weeds growing out of concrete cracks and an old piece of trash are not things to avoid, but rather they are details to explore. Soundtracks and video are often incorporated, adding additional drama to the loose narratives of the structures. Some contain lights, water, or motors for movement.

My work constantly turns in on itself. A photograph of an actual building can lead to a sculpture of that building, which in turn, is photographed once again. Scale continually grows and shrinks in the work, mutating and distorting each time. When photographing the sculptures, I blend them into the outside environment, using similar camera techniques to those utilized in old films, such as "The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman".