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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. Run / Fall

    Official Selection: Save The Archives Film Festival, Milwaukee, Sept 29, 2019
    Official Selection: Fuck Narration Festival at Chimeres Space, Athens, Greece, Sept, 2018.

    "Things are never as they seem."―Jim Thompson.

    "'Run / Fall' is both a détournement and an experiment in automatism (automatic writing via chance editing) made in the spirit of Surrealism; my subconscious and Chance as co-authors. I found myself repeating a disturbing image of an outsider running from a menacing red abstraction; a visual motif connecting fifties hysteria with the sociopolitical anxieties of the present." ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    "Run / Fall" is made from materials in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Run / Fall": music and film by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  2. In Art We Trust

    In Art We Trust is a glitch based art piece and part of a four piece installation of the same name.

    "GLITCH" at LACDA, Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts, February - March, 2019.

    A hypnotic post-structuralist video painting from over 100,000 digital paintings, as unique as fingerprints. "In Art We Trust" is made from deteriorated VHS – baked in the sun for three decades and abstracted to highlight infinite glitch patterns and random chaotic distortions. The soundtrack is a collage of a few minutes of sound, layered and looped in serial repetition.

    View the 4 channel "In Art We Trust" installation here:In Art We Trust - Installation

    "In Art We Trust":
    "Art in Heaven":
    "Sleeping with Sirens":

    For Joan Jonas, Joyce Wieland, Marie Menken, Jane Brakhage, Su Friedrich and Sadie Benning. You paved the way with your brilliant home-made film/video abstractions and dazzling visual art.

    “In Art We Trust,” by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Film for Storm de Hirsch

    Rephotographed psychedelic painted and scratched images, collaged and abstracted. An homage to underground experimental poet and filmmaker, Storm de Hirsch; one of the great unsung women in avant-garde film.

    “I don't want to put any labels on my films… I never impose on you; you need to find what you have to find.” ― Storm de Hirsch

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" [aka "Women's Time"] is a handmade film and a tribute to legendary filmmaker Storm de Hirsch, one of the pioneers of underground experimental cinema in the 1960s, along with other female directors such as Marie Menken, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, Joyce Wieland, Shirley Clarke, Barbara Rubin and many others. De Hirsch was a poet who moved easily from written poetry to experimental film poetry.

    Storm had no camera, so she began painting, scratching and etching directly onto disgarded film stock and sound tape. Like many women of the era, she was written out of film history only to be later rediscovered and celebrated with retrospectives of her films, which are now being screened and restored.

    Storm de Hirsch’s jubilant films are shot through with a fierce love of life, love, and sexuality. Her best known work is ‘Goodbye in the Mirror’ (1964) a feature shot on location in Rome, which Shirley Clarke called “the first real women’s film.” Her short films are dazzling abstractions, often mixing live action with animation and myriad experimental effects. Storm noted that she often received responses to her work addressed to "Mr. Storm," and suspected that her work was better received when critics presumed she was male. “Peyote Queen” is positively hypnotic. As I wrote in 1995, Storm de Hirsch excelled in her “brilliant use of color, pure light, and sensory imaginations of memory and beauty.”

    "'Film for Storm de Hirsch' is a handmade abstract film in which I use images of clothespins and film leader, slowed down to suggest the idea of women's waiting, women's time, women's spaces; women artists and filmmakers 'waiting' to be rediscovered. Their work lives on and inspires so many young experimental filmmakers and female video artists who search for the path of the many avant garde women who paved the way in experimental film, video and art. For more on Storm de Hirsch and hundreds of women filmmakers, see my encyclopedia, “Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary."― Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    See also "Mythology for the Soul: The Collected Poems of Storm De Hirsch," lovingly collected and edited by Stephen Broomer, and published by Sightline Editions and the Filmmakers Cooperative in New York City. Mythology for the Soul (2018) is the first comprehensive collection of Storm De Hirsch’s poetry.

    Many of Storm De Hirsch’s films have been preserved by the American Film Preservation Foundation and the Anthology Film Archives, and are distributed by the Film-Makers' Cooperative in New York City.

    “Film for Storm de Hirsch” is made from recycled and repurposed materials and sounds in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. A Film for Chantal Akerman

    A film for Chantal Akerman (1968–2015); feminist pioneer of avant-garde cinema, video artist, muse and friend.

    Chantal Akerman is not just one of the most celebrated female directors, but she is also widely regarded as one of the greatest film auteurs of the avant-garde in the late 20th and early 21st century.

    Akerman explores the concept of women's time, women waiting in time and space; she employs very long takes in which (seemingly) very little happens. Akerman often films in spaces of exile and transience, such as train stations, empty streets, hotel corridors, and other places of transition, including kitchens and domestic spaces. Though she employs formal strategies common to structuralism (such as extremely long takes) Akerman's work is deeply personal and rooted in her own experiences.

    Akerman's mother was the only member of her Jewish family to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. Akerman's final work,'No Home Movie' (2015), consists of a documented conversation with her mother recorded shortly before her mother's death in 2014. Akerman's films and art installations explored personal themes with which she was preoccupied: lesbian identity, subjectivity, alterity, quotidian reality, mother-daughter relationships, Jewish diasporic identity and the experience of exile. Akerman was indeed very prolific - she constantly created new and unexpected films and art installations; avant garde experimentations in image, gaze, space, performance, and narration.

    Chantal Akerman lives on through her many films and video art installations; her work continues to inspire filmmakers and visual artists around the world.

    Online Virtual exhibit, The Pythians, Curated by Tova Beck-Friedman, Posted October, 2017.

    #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party : September 1-30, 2018.

    For more on Chantal Akerman see my book, a collection of essays, "Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman," which includes chapters by Maureen Turim, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Jennifer M. Barker, Ivone Margulies, Catherine Fowler, Janet Bergstrom, Ginette Vincendeau, Judith Mayne, Kristine Butler and myself. (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003). --Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    “A Film for Chantal Akerman” is created from recycled images in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license. “A Film for Chantal Akerman," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  5. Kiki's Film

    Festivals and Group Shows:

    Official Selection, Vast Labs International Film Festival, Los Angeles, September 20, 2019.
    Official Selection, We Make Movies International Film Festival, Los Angeles, July 14, 2019.
    Pugnant Film Series Screening at O Meteoritis, Athens, July 4, 2019.
    KinoBerlino, Kino Moviemento, Berlin, April 25, 2019.
    Official Selection, Experiments in Cinema Film Festival, Albuquerque, April 16, 2019.
    Official Selection. Kino Climates, Belgrade, Serbia, February 22, 2019.
    Official Selection: "An Ordinary Day Film Festival" Stockholm, 2018.

    One Woman (Solo) Shows:

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

    A dream poem for Kiki de Montparnasse, (Alice Prin); artist, Muse, and creative partner of Man Ray. Kiki embodies the very essence of 1920's free queer sexuality and all things Dadaist and Surrealist. An interdisciplinary artist, Kiki was much more than a 'model.' She was a painter, writer, nightclub singer, photographer, performance artist, memoirist and vibrant bohemian provocateur at the center of the Dada and Surrealist literary and art scene in Paris, in the 1920s.

    Kiki looks directly at the viewer in this exercise in Objective Chance Surrealism (automatism); a dream occult homage; a look through Kiki's eyes in her imagined "lost film."

    You are no doubt familiar with Kiki's image, as she appears in so many famous Surrealist films and photographs, including Man Ray's "Le Violon D'Ingres," which shows a naked Kiki, seated and viewed from behind, with two 'f's in her back; a celebration of her violin-curves. Kiki was more than a gorgeous woman who had the audacity to love her curves and flaunt them - in an era when women were expected to be shaped like a thin boy.

    Kiki was punk before punk. She was a performance artist before performance art. Ultimately, she was too intense for Man Ray. By the late 1920s, Kiki had her own cabaret, Chez Kiki, She had also begun painting primitives and, in 1927, had a sell-out exhibition. Her memoir, "The Education of a French Model," was banned in America. The more I read about Kiki, the more I fall in love with Alice.

    Kiki de Montparnasse lives on in her direct frank expressiveness, sensuality, photographs, films, artwork and memoirs. --GAF

    Kiki (Alice Prin) is featured in my related video, "Bisexual Materialist Ragtime Party":

    “Kiki's Film” is made from materials found in the Public Domain, or released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license."Kiki's Film," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  6. Dreaming in Aspect Ratio

    "Dreaming in Aspect Ratio" is a hand-made diary film and experiment in disrupted stereoscopy; an adopted "found" home movie.

    Screened on the public outdoor art projection art site at the corner of Houston and Bowery in New York City. Also streamed online through the Walltime app. (January 2019).

    "Dreaming in Aspect Ratio" is created, in part, from CCO public domain materials. Copyright © 2019 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.