Viewing Private Screening, BUAG's Show of Experimental Film
By Allie Miller
BU Art Galleries showcases a refreshing experimental film series, Private Screening, as part of their series of fall exhibitions challenging expectations of the human body. Claire Ashley’s wall-to-wall immersive inflatable playground and Geoffrey Chadsey’s gender challenging paintings jump-started the season with thrilling shows that interrupted BU’s boring campus traffic. Private Screening follows suit in the secluded CFA annex. You’d barely know the space was there. Find it (to the left of the Stone Gallery, on the first floor of CFA), and you’ll enjoy a diverse selection of contemporary art films from young artists in New England.
Lani Asuncion is a studio art teacher at Tufts and her short film “Vagabond” (2015) was shot in New Mexico. It’s a memorial work dedicated to the artist’s mother who passed away in 2014. Vagabond is a peaceful yet quietly upsetting journey that follows gold-swathed Asuncion as she commemorates her mother at Native American prayer sites. The piece portrays private and public spaces and how to process feeling inside them.
Siobhan Landry’s black and white “A Place to Put Her” (2015) coincidentally also memorializes the death of the artist’s mother. Like Steve McQueen’s short film “Ashes,” now on view at ICA, Landry’s work follows the fascinating yet tragic physical process of burial as she mourns her mother’s death. Landry is an accomplished filmmaker whose work has been exhibited in various Boston shows and the Queens Museum in New York. Her work has also been featured in the New York Times.
“A Smoking Lady,” (2015) a melancholic black and white animation by Caitlin Duennebier showcases the humor of this local artist. A true Boston local, Duennebier made album art for Lina Tullgren and interviewed with Boston Hassle.
For Neil Horsky’s short film “Voyeuges: Episode II” (2017) the artist staged absurd occurrences on a city-street, including that pictured above, and employed a group of musicians to improvise the film score. The second in the series Voyeuges, the film is one of his many challenging portraits of Boston life.
Similarly titled, also skin-crawling, “Visage II” (2016) by Amy Stacey Curtis uses non-actors in an unconventional film narrative. According to her website, for “Visage II,” Curtis “asked each to count from 1 to 100 at the same pace. Curtis gently squeezed each participant's ankle 100+ times to convey the pace, then merged/super-imposed all 99 video clips to start at the same moment, all saying ‘one’ simultaneously.” Joseph Fontinha, whose film “The Work” is also featured in the show, is a Boston-based multi-media artist whose work ranges far beyond the featured film. Fontinha’s experimental works challenge artistic processes themselves, with long-term projects such as the “Blue Box Theater” and the “Blue Tarp Project” which you can find on his website.
“Ball” by Paul Belenky answers your dying question: “what’s it like to be a ball?” As the film goes through the life of a red ball. It’s playful and funny, like the rest of Belenky’s work.
Janet Loren Hill’s work is titled “It’s so hard keeping your red hot poker upright, but at least I am being supportive.” The above photo is from her graduate thesis which, like her film, utilizes fiber art and puppet people, and challenges the role of gender in relationships.
Michael Lewy’s connects the the similarities between television and depictions of space. The artist writes on his website, Bigfoot Island “suggests a children’s television show that might have existed between the channels, a reconstructed diary of channel surfing from my childhood.”
Last but not least, Adam Lenz’s “I Looked at the Pieces and Still I Wonder Why” (2015) is responsible for the screencap at the title of this article. Combining wind sounds and the “breakdown of the hexidecimal code” on screen, the work is an exciting comment on memory through the digital experience, and a conclusive ending to a strong curation of experimental film.
All images courtesy of BU Art Galleries. Click here to learn more about the artists and watch their films.