Light & Shadow, camera painting, 13.5 x 13.5 x 6″, 16mm film in lightbox, 2012 (detail)
© Joel Schlemowitz
Camera Paintings & Cinema Sculptures by
September 15 – October 7
Opening Saturday September 15, 6-9pm
with live performance at 7pm
Microscope Gallery is very pleased to launch its 3rd year with Light Objects, a solo exhibition of light-based works by Joel Schlemowitz opening Saturday, September 15th. The Brooklyn artist – whose short poetic films screen at a range of venues including Anthology Film Archives, MoMA and The Whitney Museum – provides celluloid film an existence beyond the projection room in his new camera paintings & cinema sculptures. In a series of more than a dozen camera paintings, Schlemowitz illuminates original 16mm film in light boxes – with the many frames joining to form a single, static mosaic-like image – to re-contextualize the notion of the movie and the relationship between film and photography. Modified projector works, shadow plays and other related sculptures considering the elements and tools of light and time will also be on view.
Schlemowitz has been working with film and film sculpture for over a decade, including an early mixed media ‘film box’ series, “clever, Cornell-style boxes containing toy movie viewers and thematically related objects” as described by the New York Times in 2000. It was several years later, while seeking an alternative viewing destination for a film he had discarded, that Schlemowitz decided to mount the film on a light box and saw “the potential for shooting material intentionally for this installation format…”
To create an image for his camera paintings, Schlemowitz uses his 16mm Bolex camera “as a brush”, meticulously panning back and forth to record a scene. The film is then developed, cut into strips and arranged side-by-side across the light box. The result is a striking light picture portrait composed of the many smaller sequential images of the subject, captured during the shooting and visible in its still, film frames. In effect, the film becomes a photograph and the photograph a film.
The subject matter of the camera paintings – friends & collaborators, burning light sources, recent voyages to Japan – are often personal, reflecting the artist’s current interests and obsessions. Schlemowitz also manifests his search to expand the possibilities of film through live film performance; magic lantern shows with glass slides and Victrola; and arcane media collaborations. For the opening of Light Objects, Schlemowitz has a special film-related performance in the works. A screening programs of his films will take place on September 29th, also at 7PM.
Joel Schlemowitz’s light boxes, sculptures and installations have been previously exhibited at Courthouse Gallery at Anthology Film Archives, KUMUKUMU Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Cinema (Madrid), Ukrainian Institute of America, The Images Festival (Canada), Bound & Unbound Gallery, and Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn). His films have screened widely at cinemas, festivals, and institutions including including the New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, MoMA, The Whitney Museum, Harvard Film Archives, New York Underground Film Festival, The London Film Festival, and many others. He has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and New York State Council on the Arts.