Monday February 10, 7pm
Tracking Back
Films & Videos by Anita Thacher
admission $6 – artist in person

Still from “Loose Corner” (Anita Thacher, 1986) © courtesy of the artist

Microscope is extremely pleased to present a mini-retrospective of films and videos by Anita Thacher. The artist was studying at the New York Studio School in the mid-60s when a desire to show more than one perspective on a collage work led her try to achieve what she was envisioning through the medium of film. With encouragement and a borrowed camera from Ken Jacobs and the Millennium Film School, Thacher made “Permanent Wave” – a piece combining original 16mm footage with her father’s home movies as well as 1940s “Blue Movies” she found amongst his collection. The film went on to be included in MoMA’s permanent collection along with many of her subsequent films.  


In addition to “Permanent Wave”, the evening’s program features seven seminal works including “Back Track”, a collaboration with Dennis Oppenheim that premiered at the MoMA’s 1969 “Information Show”; “Loose Corner”, which along with Jim Jarmusch’s “Down By Law” opened the 1986 New York Film Festival; and “Homage to Magritte”, one of her most screened works and recognized in The Whitney’s “The Color of Ritual, The Color of Thought: Women Avant-Garde Filmmakers in America 1930-2000”. The evening will conclude with sneak peaks of two of Thacher’s latest video works.


“In my short films I have drawn with the linear paths of the character’s actions. The actions can construct a Kandinsky-like geometry within the film frame. Shapes, such as circles, rectangles, squares, etc. are “drawn” on the frame by actions and build an underlying linear structure, through time, over the course of the film.” – AT


The screening is taking place in connection with Anita Thacher’s current exhibition DETOURS, on view at the gallery through Monday February 24th.


Anita Thacher is a New York-based artist working in multiple mediums including painting, film, video, public art, light, architectural and sculptural installation. Her most recent exhibition was the site-specific light installation “Leeway” at Mixed Greens, New York in 2011/2012. She has previously exhibited at institutions including The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, MoMA P.S.1, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Jeu de Paume, Paris among many others. Thacher’s films screen regularly in the US and internationally and are in the public collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Berlin Arsenal, and the French Film Archives among others. 




Permanent Wave
16mm film, color, sound, 1968, 3 minutes
“I was excited by the potential of the film medium … I dug into my father’s 16mm film collection, (he had been an amateur filmmaker).  I discovered among his home movies a few so-called, blue films from the 40’s. I used his silent 16mm projector to project the films… The projector did not always hold the sprockets well and the film skipped along at times. I found the consequent motion a kind of commentary on the material and decided to incorporate the motion in my film. Combined with some of my father’s tourist shots, my silhouetted hands and other images, and manipulated with a variety of shaped masks in front of the lens- (a special feature adaptation of the Kodak Cine-Special camera) I made my first film- a film-collage titled, Permanent Wave.”  – AT

Back Track
16mm film, b&w, sound, 1969, 7 minutes
A collaboration with Dennis Oppenheim, shot at Jones Beach.

Homage to Magritte 
16mm film, color, sound, 1975, 10 minutes
“This film begins with the sense of juxtaposition and the absurd that are the basis of Rene Magritte’s paintings, and then successfully makes its own contribution to the Surrealist tradition through the careful and evocative manipulation of the filmed image…” – MoMA film catalogue

Sea Travels
16mm film, color, sound, 1978, 11 minutes
Sea Travels explores the theme of childhood memories, dreams, fantasies and unique language.

The Breakfast Table
video, color, sound, 1979, 14 minutes
The Breakfast Table is a “live-action, video cartoon–a parody of 1940’s cartoons of domesticity.  In the film the all-too dutiful wife realizes her fantasies through Walter Mitty-like transformations.  She becomes, among other characters, a slinky vamp, a baseball player and a revolutionary.
“The Breakfast Table is most ingenious.  The sound track is very special, setting up a rhythm that underscores a 1940’s vignette…Thacher uses painterly effects on the set, making this at times, a two-dimensional world.  The transitions are masterful.” – Helen Kohen, Miami Herald

Loose Corner
16mm film, color, sound, 1986, 10 minutes
Like the challenges to our assumptions posed by Alice in Wonderland, issues of scale, materiality and relationships are raised within a child’s  “game-like” structure in this film.

To The Top
16mm film, color, sound, 1991, 10 minutes
“To The Top pays homage to films’ fundamental magic; its power to recreate motion through consecutive still images. Its subject, on one level, the illustration of top tricks, is also a demonstration of the magic of motion in another realm, film itself. To The Top  glories in these and other identities. Collaged images and single frame/animation are married to passionate music.” – AT

Plus sneak previews of new video works!



Stills from:
“The Breakfast Table” (Anita Thacher, 1979) (left)
“To The Top” (Anita Thacher, 1991) (right)
© courtesy of the artist

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