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Tuesday, May 14, 7pm

TAKE IT DOWN!

A screening of recent films by

Sabine Gruffat & Bill Brown

Artists in attendance


In this collection of recent work by North Carolina-based media artists Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown, celluloid film serves as both a material register and critical resource for interrogating the documentary image. Whether using discontinuous montage, handmade techniques for creating and processing images, or dramatic reenactors, these films aim to extend the formal possibilities of non-fiction filmmaking.


Sabine Gruffat is a digital media artist and filmmaker with a special interest in the social and political implications of media and technology. Her experimental and essay films explore how technology, globalization, urbanism and capitalism affect human beings and the environment. Gruffat’s films have screened at festivals worldwide including Viennale, MoMA Documentary Fortnight, Cinéma du Réel at Centre Pompidou and CPH:DOX. Gruffat lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Bill Brown is a media artist interested in ways landscape is interpreted, appropriated and reconfigured according to human desires, memories and dreams. His research interests include haunted houses, UFOs, memorial architecture and outsider archaeology. Brown’s films have screened at venues around the world, including Rotterdam Film Festival, London Film Festival, Sundance and Lincoln Centre. A retrospective of his films was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Brown lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Take It Down (Gruffat, 2018, 12:30)
Employing solarized colour positive 35mm film and animation of old postcard images of Confederate monuments in North Carolina, Take It Down documents how Southern identity continues to be bound up in the legacy of the Civil War and the Jim Crow Era. The film considers how these old memorials continue to be sites of conflicting politics and historical narratives.

XCTRY (Brown, 2018, 6:18)
Brown re-works 16mm footage that he shot years ago during a cross-country road trip from Chicago to Las Vegas. The spatial discontinuities of the road trip are rendered as visual continuities across three frames as Brown goes in search of the next town to fall in and out of love with.

Life on the Mississippi (Brown, 2018, 28:13)
A short essay film about a river and the limits of knowing it. Using Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi as a road map, Brown travels from Memphis, Tennessee to New Orleans and considers ways river pilots, paddlers, historical reenactors and civil engineers attempt to know the river through modelling, measurement and simulation.

Framelines (Gruffat, 2017, 10:14)
An abstract scratch film made by laser etching preset patterns onto the film emulsion of negative and positive 35mm film. The strips of film were then re-photographed on top of each other as photograms. The soundtrack is created by filtering and layering the noise made by the laser-etched 35mm optical track.

Amarillo Ramp (Brown + Gruffat, 2017, 24:10)
A portrait of sculptor Robert Smithson’s final earthwork. Employing filmmaking strategies that are both responsive to the artwork’s environmental context and informed by Smithson’s own art-making strategies, the filmmakers encounter the Ramp as an observatory where human scales of space and time are set against geological and cosmic scales.


Admission: Pay-what-you-can ($5–$8 suggested donation)
April 13 to May 11, 2019

Kinesthesia

Shon Kim | Kristin Reeves | Kelly Sears | Wenhua Shi

The video works in Kinesthesia explore ritualized movement and idealized/abstracted bodies through appropriated imagery and experimental animation techniques. Within the exhibition setting a haptic feedback loop is created. Through image and sound, osmosis and suggestion, the installation creates a space where observers consider firsthand how we receive and experience information on somatic and conscious levels. 

Experimenting with locomotion based on chronophotography in homage to Muybridge and Jules-Maray, Kim traverses the thin line between mastery and control, posturing and threat. Using various source material including old martial arts books, magazines and audio recordings, BOOKANIMA dissects the idea of movements in a sociopolitical sense—a corps of bodies and minds in thrall to larger ideals situated on the continuum between defence and aggression. 

Through Reeve’s reanimation of 16mm media cadavers Body Contours takes a deep dive into the realms of focused dreaming and visualization: the creation of these “mind movies” standing in for filmmaking itself. Harder than it seems, with all the background distortion we create for ourselves; control can be elusive and fragmentary. Risk is inherent in the search for peak performance. Inner worlds can collide too.

Sears animates hundreds of images from massage instruction manuals to explore the transmission of language itself, with the body as receptacle for this knowledge. While Applied Pressure envelopes us in the therapeutic mood of healing touch, it also suggests the proximal distress of our surrounding lives—the double meaning of the work’s title—and the memories of trauma our bodies retain. 

In Walking Cycle, Shi propels the body through other dimensions. Motions yield to ectoplasmic ripples as actions displace space. Extra-dimensional activity breaks down the corporeal in order to reform it. Abstraction leads to coalescence via the power of suggestion—a mesmeric conjuring that is also a tribute to abstract animation pioneers Len Lye and Hans Richter.


Shon Kim completed a BFA in Film and Video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA in Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts and a Ph.D. in Animation Theory at Chung-Ang University, Seoul. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Kristin Reeves has shown her interdisciplinary work internationally in museums, galleries, theatres, art events and festivals such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Crossroads Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Antimatter [Media Art], European Media Arts Festival, Revelation Perth and Microscope Gallery. She was awarded the 2016 Indie Grits Film Festival Helen Hill Memorial Award for Body Contours and is a Signal Culture Artist in Residence. Reeves has also collaborated in over 20 live multimedia projects staged in performance venues such as Steppenwolf Theatre, The Boiler and Granoff Centre. She is Programming Director for That One Film Festival in Muncie, Indiana and Assistant Professor of Art at Murray State University in western Kentucky.

Kelly Sears is an experimental animator who recasts and reframes American archetypes and institutions to reimagine our own social and political legacy. She views animation as a critical practice, cutting out and collaging as a way to intervene and expand context to appropriated source materials while reworking recognizable social or political narratives. Sears has screened retrospective programs of her short work at Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Portland Art Museum and the San Francisco Cinematheque. She is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she teaches advanced filmmaking, animation, experimental documentary and media archeology.

Wenhua Shi pursues a poetic approach to moving image making, and investigates conceptual depth in film, video, interactive installations and sound sculptures. His work has been presented at museums, galleries and film festivals, including International Film Festival Rotterdam, European Media Art Festival, Athens Film and Video Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, West Bund 2013: a Biennale of Architecture and Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and the Arsenale of Venice in Italy. Shi has received awards from New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and Black Maria Film and Video Festival.
March 8 to April 6, 2019

Ko Kirk Yamahira

“I consider that the subjectivity is formed through the repetitive process of deconstructing the existing objects, and ruminating on such process. There is no specific aim to find a meaning, neither in the creative act itself, nor through the creative process. The totality of the meaning can be found in the continuation of the process. Therefore the reason for the creative act would be found in different inquiry. 

The obsession of pursuit of the meaning is unlocked by the pure enjoyment of the creative act. The obsession in turn would release the meaning of the search by forgetting the initial inquiry. There are innumerable ways to enact the process, however there is one answer to the result of the process. Within the answer contains two opposing perspectives that has no hierarchy. The point of view, both subjective and objective, as well as the scale of the perception would affect the location of the answer. I sense the distance to the answer gets ever more shorter as I repeat the inquiry. 

The answer certainly exists in the past and it could simply be overlooked. The past always has the potential for the new discoveries for me. Since the inquiry originates within my mind, thus the approach to look and find the answer can change completely. It shifts while depending of my state of mind. So it is both firm, as well as transient. Creation of the artworks comes after my deconstructive process on already existing canvas, separating vertical and horizontal threads.”

For Seattle-based artist Ko Kirk Yamahira, the finished painting is a beginning rather than an end. Painstakingly removing individual threads from the weave of the canvas, Yamahira deconstructs his paintings, turning surface into form. He often disrupts the geometry of the canvas’s hidden support structure as well, cutting out sections of the wooden stretcher bars to create detached segments bound by loose thread. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Tokyo and London, Yamahira moved to Seattle from New York in 2015. He has exhibited in galleries in the United States and Japan, both individually and as a member of the artist collectives Art Beasties and SOIL.

On-site publication by Ko Kirk Yamahira
January 25 to March 2, 2019

Night Moves

Todd Lambeth

Night Moves is a series of paintings that investigates the abstract relationship between space and colour. Influenced by Cubism, hard-edged Modernist painting, comic books and candy wrappers, the colours in these paintings reference the world of advertising and design. These visually stimulating works express the artist’s interest in perceptions of pictorial space and are a direct response to the proliferation of digital imagery and imaging technology.

Combining manual and digital techniques, Lambeth’s paintings are initially designed as collages on a laptop and are translated in the studio directly from the glowing screen of a tablet. Through applications of contrasting regions of flatly applied paint, this optically challenging work presents areas of unfixed space, where the figure-ground relationships appear to flip and the viewer’s sense of space is questioned. Like the famously ambiguous picture known as "One Vase/Two Faces"* in which the figure and ground switch places, Lambeth’s paintings elicit a similar visual phenomenon where these relationships are not permanent, but transitory.

Lambeth combines the organic with the structure and rigidity of the grid. He flirts with the viewer by providing them with almost fully-rendered plant forms, but before they can completely register these biological shapes, the imagery slips back into the architectural network of the painting’s digital origins. Further emphasizing the synthetic qualities of his work and distancing himself from the painterly gesture, Lambeth meticulously applies crisp layers of flat colour, contrasting the quick gestures of his digital sources through the slowness of the medium of paint.

These paintings explore optical perceptions of space. Emphasizing the formal properties of structure and design, Lambeth’s images present the viewer with a sense of visual pleasure. With their bright, welcoming colours and forms the paintings in Night Moves foreground ideas of beauty and express Lambeth’s desire to create optimistic works that distract the viewer from the difficult times in which we live.

* Mitchell, W.J.T. "Foundational Sites and Occupied Spaces." Image Science Iconology, Visual Culture and Media Aesthetics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. p.158.

Todd Lambeth was born in Calgary, Alberta and currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia. He studied visual art at the Ontario College of Art and Design and received his MFA in studio art from the University of Victoria where he currently teaches drawing and painting. His work has been exhibited across Canada in both commercial galleries and artist-run centres. In recent years he has participated in exhibitions at The Penticton Art Gallery (Penticton, BC), Open Space Arts Society (Victoria, BC) and Chernoff Fine Art (Vancouver, BC). Lambeth is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, and his work is held in private, corporate and public collections including the Alberta Art Foundation, Nordstrom and Shell Canada.
Fire (Johnny Storm), Todd Lambeth, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 70x52.5"