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Press Release: 
J. Stacy Utley 
In Transition - Solo Show

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art Presents In Transition, Featuring 

Multi-disciplinary Artist J. Stacy Utley 

Charlotte, North Carolina — Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art is thrilled to present In Transition, the first solo exhibition of gallery artist J. Stacy Utley. Offering a collection of works in paint and photography, In Transition will examine the idea of transition itself, as it impacts community and individuals. 

J. Stacy Utley, an architect as well as an artist, has spent years keeping his two professions separate. Now, in his first solo exhibition at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, Utley invites us into his creative world, a space in which art and architecture finally merge to communicate a greater narrative. As an architect, Utley recognizes the ways in which urban development frequently poses a threat to underserved and exploited communities. As an artist, he has developed a visual dialogue to address this threat. 

Utley's artistic practice is a study of gentrification in communities and urban spaces, and the resulting effects on various demographics, but specifically on Black Americans. Brightly accented by an interplay of various reds, yellows, and teals, Utley’s paintings call to memory an all-too-familiar reference: the colors of real estate zoning. Through a methodical use of these colors, Utley transforms his paintings into more than artwork. Each piece transcends its medium to become a living archive and critique of America’s long history of systematically segregating neighborhoods and communities. 

To expand upon this visual conversation, Utley uses the human form to represent and center the people – both individually and collectively – affected by socio-economic barriers, corporate greed, housing inequity, and systemic racism. Inspired by the typical form of human figures in architectural renderings, Utley's figures mirror the structural abstraction of the objects in his urban scenes: high-rise buildings, industrial cranes, and houses dwarfed by the shadow of development. In this way, Utley's figures become an extension of the scene, caught in transition along with everything else. 

Accompanying Utley's urbanscape paintings is a photography series titled Any City America, which likewise addresses issues of gentrification in urban areas, and more specifically sparks a conversation around affordable and accessible housing – an issue that has historically disproportionately affected BIPOC communities.


Utley's poignant photographs juxtapose the old with the new, highlighting structures removed under the guise of progress. 

In Transition offers an honest and unyielding look into the very real issues facing not only our community in Charlotte, but also communities nationwide. 

The media is invited to attend an exclusive press preview and dress rehearsal for In Transition on Friday, February 7 at 4 PM. 

Please RSVP directly to Morgan Tran at

The public opening will take place on Friday, February 17 from 6-8 PM, featuring a discussion with artist J. Stacy Utley, moderated by David. J. Butler, at 7 PM.

J. Stacy Utley. Photo by Makayla Binter @mkay_15

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