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Ernie Gehr

Related: Structural film - USA

Serene Velocity (1970) - Ernie Gehr

Serene Velocity (1970) - Ernie Gehr

An older film, Serene Velocity that Ernie Gehr made in 1970, deals with very similar issues, except in this one the optical illusion is created by editing. A simple setting like a corridor begins to have different shapes. The usual sense depth is lost and sometimes the whole image seems like a two-dimensional figure that has a few squares. Again, something usual is represented in a very unusual way. Thus, our perception of it is changed, creating the sense that there are other ways of perceiving it. The fact that the dawn is breaking at the end is also very significant. It gives life to the idea that what we perceive differently is really the universe itself and not just an imaginary setting. --Yoel Meranda, Structural Films: Meditation through Simple Forms, 2002, http://www.waysofseeing.org/struct.html [Oct 2004]

In representational films sometimes the image affirms its own presence as image, graphic entity, but most often it serves as vehicle to a photo-recorded event. Traditional and established avant garde film teaches film to be an image, a representing. But film is a real thing and as a real thing it is not imitation. It does not reflect on life, it embodies the life of the mind. It is not a vehicle for ideas or portrayals of emotion outside of its own existence as emoted idea. Film is a variable intensity of light, an internal balance of time, a movement within a given space. -Ernie Gehr, January 1971

Ernie Gehr began making films in the regular 8mm format in the 1960s and has worked steadily since then, completing more than 24 films. A self-taught artist, Gehr has established himself as one of the true masters of film form, and his graceful sense of style and subtle, poetic sensibility have deeply affected the cinematic avant-garde. His films have screened internationally, including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Musee du Cinema in Brussels and at the San Francisco Cinematheque, and he has received awards and grants from numerous institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship and the Maya Deren Award from the American Film Institute. Currently a faculty member at the San Francisco Art Institute, Gehr has also taught and lectured at the University of California at Berkeley, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Deutcher Akademischer Austauschdienst in Berlin. In March 1995 he received the 1995 Adaline Kent Award Exhibition, an award presented annually to a California artist. Ernie Gehr and Bruce Conner are the only two filmmakers to have received this prestigious award, which includes an honorarium and a solo exhibition entitled Brother Can You Spare Some Time? in the San Francisco Art Institute's Walter/McBean Gallery. --http://www.hi-beam.net/mkr/eg/eg-bio.html [Oct 2004]

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