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Indepth Arts News:

"Molly Davies: Retrospective of Video Installation Works"
2006-01-12 until 2006-02-18
ZONE: Chelsea, Center for the Arts
New York, NY, USA United States of America

ZONE: Chelsea, Center for the Arts is proud to present a retrospective of video installation works by artist Molly Davies.  A film and video artist, Ms. Davies started making experimental films in the late 1960’s. She became well known in the 1970’s for her innovative work with film and performance, collaborating with contemporary choreographers, performers and composers.  The exhibition will focus on Ms. Davies unique collaboration between mediums and will feature four major installation works spanning three decades.  The exhibition will also include a screening booth with Ms. Davies documentary film performance pieces that were made for the theater.     

Ms. Davies work explores movement of the performing body and film, distilling the everyday to suggest undercurrents of desire, isolation and joy.  Juxtaposing images to create layers of meaning, her work immerses the viewer into striking, poetic worlds, using multiple projections, screens and monitors to enhance the reflexive, abstract themes within the visual/sound compositions.  Noted for her richly textured work, Ms. Davies brings the complex, subtle rhythms of movement and time altering medium of video into compelling spatial arrangements to provide multiple perspectives on the nuances of the everyday.   

The exhibition includes DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN (1991), a six-channel piece, documenting three performances of the first tour of Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s acclaimed work Ocean, with composer David Tudor and Takehisa Kosugi performing live.  This video/sound installation presents a portrait of David Tudor, detailing process and accumulation.  It is a meditation on the elaborate tableau of electronic music making in relation to the parallel dance making of Merce Cunningham.  The installation takes an imaginative behind-the-scenes look at set-up, rehearsal and live performance.  This work is in the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center, The Getty Research Institute and Musée Art Contemporain Lyon.  (92 minutes continuous loop)

Also to be shown will be SEA TAILS (1983), a three-channel, six monitor piece, that integrates an evocative electronic score by David Tudor with film footage of French artist Jackie Matisse’s extraordinary underwater kites. This mesmerizing work presents the sculptural patterns of Ms. Matisse’s kites as they float, swirl, and shift gracefully and randomly through the oceans’ current, suspending time and space.  Originally presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this piece is in the permanent collection at The Getty Research Institute.  (22 minutes continuous loop)

The exhibit will include the premiere of Ms. Davies work DESIRE (2002), a three-channel, three- screen installation with text by renowned poet Anne Carson.  A quiet drama that centers on a day in the life among three friends, DESIRE is imbued with emotional temporal states juxtaposed with a vibrant colorful landscape. The installation uses color video projected side by side on the wall and three-channels of amplified mono sound.  (12 minutes continuous loop)             

In PASTIME (1995), a provocative slide/video/sound installation built of layers with three projection surfaces and a sound collage, Ms. Davies addresses the beauty and poignancy of the quotidian. The installation, like its subject matter, deals with reflection, light, fragments and distortion as the slides and videos constantly dissolve.  A woman and a boy wrestle on a raft, playing “king of the mountain”.  With gestures that suggest love, conflict, power and eroticism, the work reveals the fragility of the moment, of a certain time in a relationship, of a mid-summer day, and the innocence of coming of age.  (12 minutes continuous loop)

The exhibition will include several documentations of film and performances pieces created by Ms. Davies from 1976-2005.  Among the documented works are Arrivals & Departures (1988); deChirico’s Daughter (1992); Palm at the End of the Mind (1983); Sage Cycle, including Sage Time and Again, Grasslands and Sage and Third Thought (originally created 1976-79, reconstructed in 2005); and Small Circles Great Plains (originally created 1976-79, reconstructed in 2005).

Molly Davies has been working as a film and video artist for over 30 years.  For her multimedia performance pieces, she has collaborated with artists John Cage, David Tudor, Michael Nyman, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse and Anne Carson.  Her work has been presented at the Venice Film Festival, the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l‘Art Moderne de la Ville Paris, Musée Art Contemporain Lyon, The Getty, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, Asia Society, Theatre Am Turm, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, La MaMa Etc., Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Indonesian Dance Festival.  She teaches courses in design for inter-media performances at universities in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Molly Davies
Colored postcard for Sea Tails, 1983

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