Vincent Grenier was born in Quebec City, Canada. He has lived largely in the US, mostly New York City. In spite of this, he was a frequent contributor to the Montreal Art scene of the 70’s and 80’s as well as the SF bay areas where he received an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early 70’s. Grenier’s experimental films and videos have earned numerous awards and have shown in North America, Europe and China at major museums, showcases and festivals. Grenier has made over two dozens films and since 1990 videos. His work was recently the subject of retrospectives at Media City, Windsor, Ontario and Images Film & Video Festival’s Canadian Images Spotlight, in Toronto. He has received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2010. He lives in Ithaca NY and teaches at nearby Binghamton University.
Grenier, a film / video maker who began working in the 70s, is an artist who brings a patient and revealing sensitivity to the image. Rigorous, beautiful, and with a wry sense of comedy –Ekrem Serdar, Experimental Response Cinema, Austin, Texas
“If Grenier’s work provides pleasures both anticipated (the formal beauty and exacting eye of a great media artist) and unanticipated (the many contradictions, misprisions, and perceptual paradoxes the works induce), his films and videos also seem to want to tell us, in very direct ways, that those pleasures are only partly of the artist’s making. They are also accidental and given to chance; they are also freely available. And so in a way, I think Vincent Grenier’s work, if I may call upon one of the hoary old saws of the avant-garde, aims to “teach us how to see,” but in ways a bit different than how that concept has been trotted out in the past by mythopoets and structuralists alike.” –Michael Sicinski (Moving Image Source)
My work is fascinated by contingencies: digressive moments, unbalanced spaces, assymetrical compositions, revealing details, incongruous recordings, and unexpected linkages between form and meaning. My compositions operate as a series of short circuitings Mand rewirings of expectations of unified cinematic space and time. Instead, they create visual movements comprised of both experiential and physical interactions with the image and philosophical queries into the nature of representation.
My work plays off the contradictions between my artistic intentions and the physical results of shooting: these divergences generate useful accidents that reveal much more complex ideas about the forms and structures of daily life. The spectator’s assumptions and ideologies are made to collide with the cinematographer’s mechanics and aesthetics. These conflicting agendas have formed the foundation of my artistic work for over thirty years. They draw attention to how larger cultural and social constructs commingle in a myriad of permutations condensed into the visual.
My work eschews the deductive straight lines of arguments, specific judgments and conclusions. Rather, the cinematic, as figured in my body of work, is not located as a fixed and static object, but as an opening for transformative possibilities. Evoking the juxtapositions of the Zen Buddhist koan, my work shakes the patina of the everyday into a humorous and poetic awareness of the present.
My works directly confront the ideas of spatiality and temporality as a continuum and unsettle the notion of a universal human experience. Instead, my work moves towards fracturing space and time in order to release how the everyday and the specific hold within them ineffable, untranslatable, visual mappings that can provoke revelations into light, color, form, and composition. –VG
- Catch (1975) 16mm, color, silent, 4:15 min
- Light Shaft (1975) 16mm, b&w, silent, 6:20 min
- Shade / Toile (1975) 16mm, color, silent, 8:46 min
- While Revolved (1976) 16mm, color, silent, 9 min
- X (1976) 16mm (18f/sec), b&w, silent, 8 min
- World in Focus (1976) 16mm (18f/sec), color, silent, 16 min
- Interieur Interiors (1978) 16mm, b&w, silent, 15 min
- Mend (1979) 16mm, b&w, silent, 6 min
- Closer Outside (1981) 16mm, color, silent, 9:30 min
- Tremors (1984) 16mm, color, sound, 13 min
- Time’s Wake (1977/87) 16mm, color, silent,12 min
- Surface Tension #2 (1995-2005) 16mm, color, sound, 4 min
Screening format: Digital HD (new transfers supervised by the author)
(Special thanks to Vincent Grenier)
Further details and film notes at: