Ceaphas Stubbs: Phantom Limb

Image: ...Disappearing Act..., Ceaphas Stubbs. c/o Ceaphas Stubbs & Paul Robeson Galleries

Paul Robeson Galleries

“Phantom Limb” is a solo exhibition of recent works by Ceaphas Stubbs. The works in “Phantom Limb” suggest the experience of desire and loss as altered states of embodiment. Stubbs creates sculptures from found, commonplace materials, such as discarded plastic bottles, scraps of fabric, bits of wire and yarn, chemically stained photographs, and pornographic magazine clippings. These sculptures are then arranged in and photographed against colorful, patterned backdrops, and the final image is printed at large scale.

The viewer is drawn to a photograph by its use of high key color and the flashes of flesh, like the line of a long neck or a muscled leg bent at the knee, all arranged in a fragile framework of string and scraps. The initial pleasure in looking is quickly followed by crisis of vision: determining the scale of the sculptures and the depth of the picture plane is a difficult task. This ambiguity is drawn out in the titles of works, with their repeated use of ellipses, pointing to the state of uncertainty and the temporality of anticipation. When in love or loss, the field of vision and feeling narrows dramatically. “Phantom Limb” pulsates with the claustrophobic effect of desire and puts the viewer in the position of the lover, always waiting, ever uncertain, obsessively analyzing the beloved’s words and gestures.

“Phantom Limb” is the culmination of Stubbs’ six-month residency at the Paul Robeson Galleries at Express Newark. The Artist-in-Residence is selected by a jury of art professionals and receives a stipend and free studio located in the former Hahne and Co. Department Store. During their six-month tenure, the artist is an active member of the dynamic community of Express Newark and Rutgers University – Newark.