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Gwendolyn Audrey Foster - Portfolio

Originally from New York City, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is The Willa Cather Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska. Foster is a film and video artist and author of many volumes on experimental film, women filmmakers, and LGBTQ+ cinema. Her documentary on women film directors, "The Women Who Made the Movies," is distributed by Women Make Movies.

Foster's work has screened at Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Collective for Living Cinema (NYC), MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Outfest (LA), Bi Arts Festival (Toronto), National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC), Films de Femmes (Créteil), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Forum Yokohama (Japan), Studio 44 (Stockholm), BWA Contemporary Art Museum (Poland), Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), nGKB gallery (Berlin), Engauge Film Festival (Seattle), LACDA (LA Center for Digital Art), WUFF (Canada) and galleries, museums and film festivals around the world. Foster's complete films and videos are archived at the UCLA Film & Television Archives.

Artist Statement:

As a queer feminist marxist artist of détournement, my work explores the aesthetic space between film & video through collage and abstraction techniques. I often create my films from found materials, combining elements of Surrealism, eco-feminism, punk, queerness, romantic structuralism, and chance editing (automatism). Chance is my favorite collaborator. I compose the music and soundscapes for most of my films, which have been described as surreal, contemplative, and hypnotic. ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

Contents of this portfolio copyright © 2016 - 2020 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  1. Making America Straight & White Again

    MicroActs LGBT+ filmfest, London 2019.
    Bi Arts Festival, Toronto, 2018.

    "Making America Straight & White Again" and "The 1%" screened at nGBK Gallery, Berlin in the group show, "Fortune Unfolded," curated by Coral Short, in association with Coven Berlin. 2018.

    Solo screenings:

    "Fast and Furious: Experimental Queer Dada Feminist Films" of Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Studio 44, Stockholm, Sweden 2018.
    “Punk Queer Dada Films: Gwendolyn Audrey Foster,” OT301 Cinema of the Dam'd, Amsterdam, 2018.
    “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Feminist Punk Experimental Films,” Filmhuis Cavia, Amsterdam, July 2018.
    “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Experimental Films,”The Screening Room, Salto TV for Amsterdam Queer Pride Festival, 2018.

    This queer punk video mimics what is feels like to watch the news as we see the rise of homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacism in America under the Trump Regime. We must Resist!

    Media fosters a sense of anger, helplessness, and apathy, but when we rise above the noise and divisiveness, progressives will inevitably stem the tide of the retrograde. We will not slip backwards.

    The only way to get through the very worst is to go forward - directly through it. Tune out the discouraging noise and act. Be firm and resolute in the knowledge that we can move forward and we WILL move forward. ACT NOW! RESIST!—GAF

    “Making America Straight & White Again” is a collage of images and sounds found in the Public Domain, or materials released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license."Making America Straight & White Again," a détournement by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  2. Self Portrait [Détournement]

    Self Portrait [Détournement] is a queer experiment in Surrealist autoportraiture. A 'found image as self' morphs into multiple selves who walk away from the camera to meet yet more aspects of the self, travelling through alternate times and places. Use of a 'found' female figure - one who never looks at the camera - disrupts cis hetero-norms of traditional-patriarchal portraiture.

    Festivals and Group Shows:
    NewFilmmakers at Anthology Film Archives, NY. 2018.
    Bi+ Self Portrait Workshop, Bi Arts Festival, Toronto, 2018.
    FIVAC 8th Festival Internacionel de Videoart de Camagüey; 2019.
    "Nostalgia," Manifest Destiny Art Gallery, Barcelona, 2019.
    KinoBerlino, Kino Moviemento, Berlin, 2019.

    I am fascinated by myriad representations of the self as Other and the Other as self (or selves); particularly in the work of women artists, the Surrealists and Dadaists, and bisexual+ genderqueer artists such as Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, Anaïs Nin, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Bessie Smith, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, and Toyen (Marie Čermínová).―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    "Self Portrait [Détournement]"―Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. A détournement made in part from materials in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Fountains for the Baroness

    "Fountains for the Baroness" is a Punk Dadaist film for Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, also known as "The Baroness." Elsa, the famed bisexual Dada artist, sculptor and poet, sent her friend Marcel Duchamp a urinal as a gift, signed R. Mutt. Her gift is famous as one of the most famous early readymade sculptures,"The Fountain," but it is solely attributed to Marcel Duchamp.

    Elsa found objects in the street and declared them works of art before Duchamp hit upon the idea of "readymades." Duchamp said of the Baroness "She is not a Futurist. She is the future."

    Elsa's wildly suggestive androgynous contributions as an artist inspire new queer & feminist re-readings of Dada art, the readymade, and Conceptual art.

    Elsa was as freely sexual, queer, gender nonconforming, and avant garde in the way she behaved and fashioned her body as she was in her poetry and artwork, exploring the phallic and labial appearance of the urinal of "found" plumbing fixtures that she fashioned as androgynous readymade sculptures, with titles such as "God."

    Decades before punks wore safety pins and wild drag fashion, Elsa cross-dressed and wore live birds in a cage, a tomato can bra, shaved her head, and adorned her body with myriad found objects, often shocking those around her.

    Elsa was a pioneer in radical queer self-fashioning. She manufactured agency in a patriarchal bourgeois world that she actively disrupted and defied. Elsa's title as the "Baroness" was deployed ironically: her real name was Else Plötz. Djuna Barnes was one of her many lovers, and Elsa famously appeared in a film made by Man Ray and Duchamp titled “The Baroness Shaves Her Pubic Hair.”

    A sexually aggressive libertine bi+ genderqueer protopunk provocateur at the center of the Dada movement, Elsa lived her life as a Dada performance artist, and is as well known for her breathtaking, sexually-charged blasts of staccato poetry as she is her outlandish behavior; she was arrested on several occasions for cross-dressing and other "perverse and scandalous acts of public indecency."

    Elsa, born in Germany, brought Dada to New York City and fashioned her own body as an art piece before the rise of performance art. Elsa made a spectacle of herself, claiming agency over her own body, whether nude, wearing men's clothing, or adorning herself with trash and found objects. Elsa fashioned her own body as anti-consumerist whilst defying gender norms, almost singlehandedly pioneering queer feminist dada performance art.

    Elsa's poetry is equally important and prescient as her dada art and persona. Recently collected and published as "Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven," Elsa was an early pioneer of "sound poetry" who employed irrational modernism in her writing. Her Dada poems are as free-spirited and original as they are provocative.

    When language did not suit her needs she made up words such as, “kissambushed,”“phalluspistol,”and “spinsterlollipop.” Elsa's sexually charged intensity anticipated the poetry of the Beats. Her poems are themselves art objects, decorated and painted in wild colors.

    Now dubbed "The Mama of Dada," The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven is a force to be reckoned with even today; pioneer of junk art, inventor of the "ready-made," a queer/trans feminist performance artist known for her sexually transgressive Dadaist painting, sculpture, art and irrational modernist poetry. Elsa's artistic genius is only now being recognized, nearly one hundred years after she gifted a urinal (as an artwork) to Marcel Duchamp.

    Read more here on The Baroness:

    "Fountains for the Baroness" is a punk dadaist film made from recycled "found" CCO public domain materials - in honor of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven aka The Baroness.

    "Fountains for the Baroness," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. No Personal Checks

    Screening History - Festivals:
    Analogica Film Festival, 2019 - 2020
    United States Super 8 Film Festival 2020
    New Jersey International Film Festival 2020
    Intima Lente/Intimate Lens. Festival of Visual Ethnography, Italy 2019
    CODEC Festival Internacional de Cine Experimental y Vídeo, Mexico City 2019
    Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (Video Library) 2019
    Expressions Art Movie Film Festival, Los Angeles 2019
    Engauge Experimental Film Festival, Seattle 2018
    Kino Climates: Belgrade, Serbia, 2019
    Atrabilious Experimental Film Festival, Amsterdam 2019

    Solo screenings:
    Cinetoon de Nijverheid, Utrecht, Netherlands 2019.
    Studio 44, Stockholm Sweden, 2018.
    OT301 Cinema of the Dam’d, Amsterdam, 2018.
    BWA Contemporary Art Gallery, Poland, 2018.

    From a Super 8mm diary film that I shot long ago and recently found in the basement. I hand-baked, re-photographed, hand-processed, re-edited, and otherwise distorted my footage and added layers of audio. An experimental in memory.

    I shot this footage many years ago when we moved from the West Village in New York city to the Midwest, which was very much like moving to the 1950s.

    I live here, but this is not my home.

    "Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it."―Flannery O'Conner

    Some thoughts on film, Super 8mm and 16mm:

    Film is alive. It is projected in our imagination. Like a phoenix, film comes to life by magic, by resurrection. Film has a living warmth. It breathes. It is a living thing in a way, something alive and yet not; film is liminal, magical and ethereal.

    Film grain, scratches, and light streaks are like scars, freckles and wrinkles; tracings of life.

    "No Personal Checks" - a film by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright @ 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All Rights Reserved.

  5. Séance for Hilma

    A handmade abstract film for the Swedish artist and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862-1944),"Seance for Hilma," is an experiment in mystical 'disrupted stereoscopic' using random intervals and elements devined from 'filmic automatism' (chance edits, random colors, and abstractions): inspired by the Surrealists - and guided by the spirit of Hilma af Klint.

    Hilma af Klint's early abstract paintings were among the very first abstract European art, predating better known artists.The paintings and drawings of af Klint are truly breathtaking, but Klint is only now being recognized as an important early figure of modern European abstract art. Though her work prefigures that of Kandinsky, Mondrian, Klee and others, reportedly none of them ever saw her work. Hilma af Klint was discouraged from showing her work in public by her mentor in Theosophy, Rudolf Steiner. Af Klint painted for the future: she stipulated that her work not be shown in public until twenty years after her death.

    Hilma's spiritual life and early preoccupation with Nature is as interesting as her artwork, and the two are deeply connected in her stunning abstract paintings. A gender non-conformist, Hilma took part in seánces in the 1870s and formed a women's group, De Fem (The Five). De Fem immersed themselves in the paranormal and mysticism and practiced automatic writing. These pioneering women created unconventional ways to create and "channel" liminal art (including 'exquisite corpse' chance drawings, a term & process coined and used much later by the Surrealists).

    Hilma, a mathematician and linguist, created a highly personal language of symbols, letters, color, and words. Her work demonstrates her passionate interest in dualities, harmonies and balance, as well as her desire to abstract representations of love and ethereal realms of spiritual transcendence.

    The delayed recognition of the art of Hilma af Klint disrupts the authority of 'art history.'

    Presciently, Hilma af Klint left extensive notebooks and plans for the future exhibition of her artwork in a circular gallery like a temple not unlike the Guggenheim, confidently assuming that her unconventional abstract spiritual art would one day be displayed, understood and highly valued.

    A hundred years after they were created, the paintings and artwork of Hilma af Klint are thrilling viewers and bewitching art historians. Hilma af Klint is finally being recognized for her significance in art history and mysticism.

    Hilma af Klint is currently enjoying a fantastic major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum until April 23, 2019 in New York City. Read more about Hilma af Klint here:

    Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim in NYC:

    "Séance for Hilma" is made from recycled "found" CCO public domain materials."Séance for Hilma," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  6. Dada Ship

    A Dadaist time travel film. Dada gives Time it's own reflection; it's alterity; it's Other. A ship on the oceans of time, born out of a dream. Our dreams offer unparalleled luxury travel, after all. An anti-narrative non-film.

    Official Selection:
    Festival Vortex, Mexico, 2019
    Austin Arthouse Film Festival, 2019.
    Vast Labs International Film Festival, LA, 2019.
    Kino Klub Spit, Croatia, 2019.
    We Make Movies International Film Festival, LA, 2019.

    One Woman (solo) Screenings:

    Cinetoon de Nijverheid, Utrecht, The Netherlands 2019.
    Studio 44, Stockholm, Sweden. 2018.
    OT301 CInema of the Dam'd, Amsterdam. 2018.
    Filmhuis Cavia, Amsterdam. 2018.
    BWA Contemporary Art Museum, Poland, 2018.

    "Dada Ship" is made, in part, from recycled "found" CCO public domain materials."Dada Ship," Music and film by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.