unday November 9, 2008, 7:00 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Stephanie Maxwell Visual Music
Stephanie Maxwell in person!!
Co-presentation with the iotaCenter.
Stephanie Maxwell specializes in hand-painted experimental abstract
animation. After performing a variety of painting, marking and
engraving techniques directly onto 35mm film stock, Maxwell
rephotographs each frame of the film using a digital feed camera and
digital frame capture, sometimes employing additional manipulations
such as bending and twisting the film, layering film frames together,
and progressive alterations of the image during the frame by frame
This screening will feature selections from Maxwell’s work from 1984
through her two newest works from 2008, as well as a twelve-minute
short documentary about Maxwell’s filmmaking process, with footage of
the artist at work. Two short clips from the documentary and a few
select clips from the films are available on the iotaCenter YouTube channel.
The aesthetic of Maxwell’s films has changed since she began
creating films in the 1980’s, and the transformation of her techniques
and style will be apparent by viewing her films chronologically. The
themes and imagery in her films vary widely – from that of a biological
nature (GA, 1984), to staged, but painterly, graphical works (Somewhere, 1999) to interpretations of the metaphysical – time, reality, existence (Time Streams, 2003 and Runa’s Spell, 2007).
Some of the combinations of sound and imagery in Maxwell’s work are haunting and lovely, as in Runa’s Spell,
where a close-up of what appears to be a colorful microscopic organism
is accompanied by the distant sound of a woman lamenting in musical
form. In Reflecting Pool (2006), a dark, ominous background
is lit up with neon reflections of sand animation combined with images
of microscopic organisms in a watery matrix. The music reflects and
reacts to the evolving revelations in this three-movement work.
“Stephanie Maxwell’s work gets me. Her work is fuelled by a
breathless, giddy energy and passion that seeps through every whore of
a pore. Like a child, she is excited by a seemingly minute discovery —
like an anthill, river or a rock. Maxwell’s work is an extension of
that explorative part of our childhood. She has a tenacious fascination
with the natural world; a world that too many of us (myself included)
have left behind in favor of simulated realities.” – Chris Robinson, Animation World Magazine