Now Available: new and recent works by Stephanie Barber

Posted February 18th, 2020 in New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Stephanie Barber is an American writer and artist. She has created a poetic, conceptual and philosophical body of work in a variety of media. Her videos are concerned with the content, musicality and experiential qualities of language and her language is concerned with the emotional impact of moments and ideas. They ferry viewers through philosophical inquiry with the unexpected oars of empathy, play, story and humor.

3 peonies (2017 | 3 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)
A brief, poetic 16mm film on a simple sculptural action. What becomes apparent is the humor possible in material interactions and the tender and sometimes melodramatic symbolism of cut flowers. What begins as a reverence for natural beauty ends up pointing towards the abstract expressionism and color field work of high modernism which, in many cases eschewed the banality of such ‘natural’ beauty. The collaged soundtrack suggests weightier concerns, gently insistent behind the flatness of the utilitarian sounds of ripping tape.

the forest is offended (2017 | 2 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

This is a short 16mm film poem thinking about the physics of sound, the need sound has to vibrate and bounce off a molecule or atom to return to our ears; it is thinking about this physical property as a metaphor for spirituality or love. This film was shot on expired film from 1970 whose own molecules needed to be called back. To us.

the parent trap (2017 | 2 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

Another in a series of sculptural pieces I’m currently building. This one is a short 16mm film made as a memorial for my grandmother who passed away this spring, her voice can be heard singing a bit of song. What goes when the body goes? How many parents have we got stacked upon us into eternity like ladders to the afterlife?

Catalog (2005 | 11 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

Catalog is a composition of stillness-inversion of the spectacle–actors are posed recreating various photographs in surroundings unfrozen. The sound track is a labile and dense tale of spaces, royalty and a photograph more mutable than an image should be. The sound track is read by Gregg Biermann.

Total Power, dead dead dead (2005 | 3 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

A love letter to the charm of two dimensional images and a struggle for attention. Confusion over the inequity of the mortality of images and that of humans. (slightest indictment). The spectacle awaits our adoration, gives a tender, false intimation of collusion.

city at heart (2003 | 4 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

Again with thirds and again with danger. (in the words of the great poet Lauren Bender “i don’t mind”) Danger is suggested in the micro and macro collusions. “…their own children earnest grapplings with the reductionism of love”

Dogs (2000 | 15 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

A mini revolution. Wrong choices. The divorce of ethereal beauty and mystery so common in experimental films, in my films. What begins as devastatingly awkward or ‘tender’ unfolds itself to show a deceptive, strangely rigid literary formalism commented upon by the content. The two dance around (form and content) moving towards and away from each other in the tricky, clear dialogue. Hyper-reflexivity, art and love–and the role faith plays in each of these. I myself feel safest around purposefulness, can read more clearly an artists work when i trust that choices have been weighed, bear meaning. This film requires a great deal of faith, because it is strange and labile. Its device-ness is so apparent as to have left it naked, and then so naked as to be, perhaps, closed again (so that it is possible i have lied about the divorce).

little present (for my friend columbus the explorer) (1999 | 3 minutes)

While referencing the explorer Christopher Columbus the film is actually a gift for my friend, the performance artist, Theresa Columbus. The short imagistic film is suggesting, or questioning, ever so gently, the effects exploring has on that which is being explored. Our most well known Columbus, now so often vilified, here stands in for a more psychological and artistic exploration and the fall out that can occur from that sort of expansionism as well.

Like many of my films the piece itself works almost separately from the implications and sidelong glances of the title and the way it interacts with the, almost passive, images and often quite dominant soundtracks.

metronome (1998 | 10 minutes | COLOR | OPT)

METRONOME is both the most straightforward, as well as the most difficult of my films. It is very dear to my heart. The radio play soundtrack is off-set by the intractable images “spaces.” the former seems to balance precariously between kitsch and true heartrending emotion and the latter is referencing the asceticism of seventies minimalism (in experimental film) with the impenetrable intellectualism becoming increasingly moving as the film progresses. The marriage of these two elements is an odd tension, the tale of the play, the threat of limb extraction, asks the necessity of “whole and what the elements are that compose complete.”