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Maria Elena Buszek

(b Toronto, 1958).

Canadian photographer, video artist, and writer, active in USA. Davey variously studied design, drawing, and painting at Montreal’s Concordia University, finally settling on photography, in which she received a BFA in 1982. She later earned an MFA at the University of California San Diego, and began post-graduate studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1988. Frustrated by the tendencies of such contemporaries as Andreas Gursky and Gregory Crewdson to, as she put it, ‘overproduce, overenlarge, overconsume’, Davey sought rather to draw on ‘the inherently surrealist, contingent, “found” quality of the vernacular photograph’(Davey 2014).

Davey’s photographs and videos consist predominantly of quiet vignettes from everyday life: homes filled with dusty, over-stuffed shelves, crammed with books, albums, bottles, and art supplies, and tables with momentary arrangements of these objects in use; lovingly rendered still-lifes of the near extinct, ad-hoc displays of button vendors, newsstands, and hi-fi equipment; always suggesting but rarely depicting the acquisitive, inquisitive people living and working in these humble, very much lived-in spaces. Her breakthrough ...

Article

Matthias Ulrich

(b Lubin, Poland, Sept 11, 1967).

Polish draughtsman, sculptor, video, performance, and mixed media artist, active in the USA. She grew up in Sweden, where she studied Communications at Schillerska/Gothenburg University in Gothenburg from 1986 to 1987. After moving to New York, Mir earned her BFA for Media Arts at the School of Visual Arts in 1992, and from 1994 to 1996 she studied Cultural Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

Mir’s practice as an artist refers to popular culture in general, focusing on images and ideas that influence and represent social reality, and investigating popular myths and technologies such as the cinematographic representation of images. The journey to the moon, for example, symbolizing the dominance of the United States during the Cold War, receives through Mir’s appropriation in First Woman on the Moon (1999) a critical reflection, taking into consideration patriarchal power structures as well as the apparent staging of reality through mass media. In her work ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Dallas, TX, June 24, 1951).

American photographer. Nicosia studied Radio, Television and Film at the University of North Texas, Denton, completing his studies in 1974. His early photographic work used a frenetic comic book style, with actors expressively posed in front of bizarre hand painted backdrops, as in Near (Modern) Disaster no. 5 (1983; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 51). Nicosia moved away from such cartoon-style work and began to make more considered, although still staged, portraits such as Danny & Conny (1985; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 54). With his Real Pictures series, Nicosia moved out of contrived studio situations and used actors outdoors, as well as black-and-white film in pursuit of greater realism. Works such as Real Pictures no. 8 (1989; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 55), a dispassionately framed image of a man threatening a clown from his car, showed Nicosia’s interest in a collision of the morbid and the absurd. Nicosia subsequently made works both in the studio, such as ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Reinthal, Switzerland, June 21, 1962).

Swiss video artist and installation artist. Her unusual first name comes from the joining of her given name with her nickname Pipi, after the storybook character Pippi Longstocking. She trained at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, studying commercial art, illustration and photography (1982–6). At this time she was making animated cartoons and building stage sets for bands, which influenced her later practice with its MTV aesthetic and fast, colourful scenes. She then went on to study audio-visual design at the Schule für Gestaltung, Basle, graduating in 1988 and later settling in Zurich. Her video I’m Not a Girl Who Misses Much (1986; see 1996 exh. cat.) demonstrates her interest in stretching the technical possibilities of the medium, for example by distorting the picture or by speeding up and slowing down the image, so that the medium becomes integral to the theme rather than simply a method of documentation. In this work Rist sings and screams the title refrain, echoing the opening lines of the Beatles song, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’, like a pretty pop icon pushed over the edge into hysteria. Rist’s work tends not to have a strong narrative; instead the images and sounds produce an open-ended, intense situation, with the protagonist (often herself) presented as a warped version of the glamorous, vacant girls of advertising. She also incorporates her videos into installations, as in ...