August 5th, 2016
@ Sugar City
$7 General | Free for Squeaky Wheel Members
Squeaky Wheel welcomes a presentation of works by 2016 Workspace Resident Mary Helena Clark! Mary Helena Clark’s films explore genre tropes, the materiality of film, and the pleasure of tromp l’oeil. Bringing together observational, appropriated, staged and abstract footage, they operate on dream logic until disrupted by moments of self-reflexivity.
Mary Helena Clark is an artist working in film, video, and installation. Her work has been exhibited and screened widely, including presentations at the Swedish Film Institute (Stockholm), Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Anthology Film Archives (New York), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), National Gallery of Art (Washington), Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH), Document Space (Chicago), and at the New York, AFI, Ann Arbor, London and Toronto International Film Festivals. Clark lives and works in Hamilton, New York.
“Poetry in the cinema today is a willingness to work productively on the edge of inscrutability, opacity, meaninglessness, fears which are only the products of capital’s smear campaign against the time of contemplation; an ability to arrange images such that they regain their mystery… and choose the possibility of being loved some day over selling you straight away on a feeling, a thrill, an idea; and a properly historical understanding of what an image has meant, and will mean. In short, poetry in the cinema today would give images back the fullness of their possibility. It might look like the films of Mary Helena Clark, and as I had started to say, there’s something about her poetic cinema in particular…” – Phil Coldiron, Cinema Scope Magazine
Sound over Water
6 min, 16mm, sound, 2009
Blue sky and blue sea meet on emulsion. (MHC)
By foot-candle light
9 min / 16mm to digital video / sound / 2011
A walk through the proscenium wings. You close your eyes and suddenly it is dark. (MHC)
“In the dream we call cinema there is no either, no or. We move from cave to forest to theater and back again, certain only that we are elsewhere, at least until the reel runs out. Here is objective truth, or “hypnosis” by another name.” – Ben Russell
6 min / 16mm / sound / 2014
“Using footage from Cocteau’s Orphée, Mary Helena Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames.” – Andrea Picard
16min, 16mm, sound, 1972
RAINDANCE plays directly on the mind through programmatic stimulation of the central nervous system. Individual frames of the film are imprinted on the retina of the eye in a rhythm, sequence, and intensity that corresponds to Alpha-Wave frequencies of the brain. RAINDANCE becomes an experience of meditative liberation beyond the threshold of visual comprehension. Vision turns inward. The film directs our mental processes, controlling how we think as well as what we see. Images fuse with their afterimages, colors arise from retinal release of exhausted nerve endings, forms dance across short-circuited synapses of the mind. RAINDANCE was made entirely from a scrap of found footage taken from an old animated cartoon representing a sheet of falling rain. The cartoon was called, “The History of Cinema.”
4:23, qt file, sound, 2012
A meditation on disingenuousness.
My Dream of Flying to Wake Island
Mary Helena Clark and Lakshmi Luthra
The Dragon is the Frame
14 min / 16mm / sound / 2014
An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression. (MHC)
What are you thinking?
I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated. How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.
What are you thinking now?
– Jack Spicer, Psychoanalysis: An Elegy
8:30min, qt file, sound, 2015
“What can we say about these elements in relation to one another? There is a movement of rounded forms, an implication that hands are doing the moving (driving, playing tennis, perhaps waving the flag), but all this seems far too literal. What Clark really gives us is a series of open fields (white, black, and green) where our narrow attention to specific actions and objects closes down our experience of the breadth of the space before us. That’s to say, the situations depicted, and the manner in which Clark depicts them, serve to narrow our perception of areas that could conceivably engulf us.” – Michael Sicinski, MUBI.com
Voice: Elizabeth Bouk
Text: Josh Minkus
Camera Assistant: Zach Iannazzi