Microscope is very pleased to present a screening of films and videos by New York-based artist and filmmaker Sheri Wills. The event will be accessible online as well, with a live streaming of the introduction and Q&A from the gallery.
The program of short 16mm films and videos — some of which were shot on Super 8mm — features nine works spanning more than 20 years and includes Wills’ most recent work SEAM completed in 2021. In Wills’ work, subtle abstractions flow gently across the screen at varying paces, morphing seamlessly and at times dissolving into each other, as though each image were developed and revealed while being projected. These shifting compositions often covering the full color spectrum, are created through camera-less exposure techniques stemming from the tradition of photogram photography.
“For the past twenty years, I have been making photogram films, by laying objects on unexposed film and flashing it with light. I am primarily interested in the relationship between the directness of the object – the trace it leaves on film – and the resulting image, which is barely recognizable. These works speak to a conflation of memory and the present, the physicality of the object and its seemingly abstract imprint. Light is physical material, while the play of light and shadows creates an illusion of reality – you can pass your hand right through it.” — Sheri Wills
Far from cold formal investigations, Wills’ films relate to the human experience, activating and triggering the senses in calibrated ways. Flickering yet disinterested in testing the limits of anyone’s perception, they organically offer themselves to be fully embraced by our eyes, through surprisingly fulfilling climaxes. Soundtracks are often sourced from obsolete recording technologies such as wax cylinder phonographs or audiotape answering machines, conveying a sense of materiality in sound, as well. Breaking from abstraction is her 2004 video “Riderless,” an enthralling reflection on transience using Sylvia Plath’s poem “Elm” as both thematic inspiration and visual material.
“Just as peripheral vision is essential to survival, it is by paying attention to the gaps, the margins, and the in-between personal moments that we might gain a fuller understanding of others and of our relationship to what lies outside our immediate perception.” — Sheri Wills
Wills will be available for a Q&A following the screening.
Online tickets will be available on this page starting from 7pm ET on Monday May 8th.
General Admission $10
Member Admission $8
Sheri Wills is an artist who works with film, video, and sound to make single-channel videos, installations, sound works, and live video performances. She explores the material, psychological, and philosophical potentials of cinema to reveal small moments that often go unseen and pull forward the emotional content of abstract imagery.
She has had one-person shows at venues including the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema in NYC, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Director’s Lounge in Berlin, Germany. Her films have been screened internationally, such as at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux in Paris, the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the London Film Festival, the San Francisco Cinematheque, Fisura in Mexico City, and the Abattoirs Museum in Toulouse, France. Her films are distributed by Light Cone in Paris. She has made installations and participated at residencies including the At Home Gallery in Slovakia, the Narva Art Residency in Estonia, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Studios at MASS MoCA, among others.
Wills is a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design and is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow. She lives in New York City.