August 27, 2009
Review: 1440 Frames
August 13, 2009
Those that ventured off the Downtown Art Walk path and found themselves in the modestly sized Federal Art Project gallery stood lined up along the sidewalls to view the eleven-minute looped digital projection of eleven artists’ one-minute 35mm silent films, including such artists as Michelle Jaquis, Harry Gamboa Jr., and Vincent Valdez. Similar to cinema style viewing, with the exclusion of audience seating, the 1440 Frames exhibition is presented on a solitary wide-screen at the rear of the dimly lit space.
Opposite to the entrance, five unframed 11x 8½ inch color photographs serve as documentation of selected film shoots. Though only half of the exhibiting artists were featured in photo format, the inclusion of such colorful perspective depicting over-the-cameraperson’s-shoulder shots reference the justification of the overall curation as well as unification of the ten video artists; all utilizing the same camera equipment and gallery-turned-studio.
Michelle Jaquis’s Until I Can Speak My Mind arouses an uncomfortable sensation among viewers, nothing short of gagging, reminiscent of a diluted Paul McCarthy video. Jaquis’s earnest passport style headshot undeniable overpowers the screen, even though she rarely shows direct eye contact with the viewer, as she chews an increasing amount of pink bubble gum. After each segment she spits the glutinous chewing gum provoking a gag reflex that defeats the purpose of a childhood favorite candy and is converted into a nauseating self-censoring substance, which still speaks truth for women today without heavy feminist overtones.
Jaquis is not the only artist that performs in her own work. Harry Gamboa Jr. stages an isolated action on film he titles as Confetti Fetish. Adjacent to a blank white wall with industrial-like saturated white light, stoic Gamboa proceeds to unfold a Los Angeles Times newspaper and shred it into halves. Tossing strips of newspaper on the floor, sarcastically eludes to the notion of confetti which functions less as a celebratory gesture than it does as the recent deterioration of new paper companies, thereby equating the means of knowledge and distribution of information as worthless trash.
Even if all artists had one week notice to prepare their short film and each artist had only one take to perform and edit, in-camera, the compilation appears less of a race against the clock challenge than pre-selected productions of accomplished Los Angeles based contemporary video artists.