From Woodswoman (2010), by Vanessa Renwick
I went to a screening of experimental films at Anthology Film Archives in the mid 1990’s where the most interesting film of the program was a home basement video, found in a thrift shop, which had been shot by two uncredited amateurs. The filmmaker ( the person who had claimed and re-purposed this video as art, without changing it one bit ) had found it, of course, in Portland.
That’s how hip Portland is, cinematically.
Very proud to see Vanessa at Anthology! The last time I was there to see work by a Portland filmmaker, it was with Walt Curtis to see Walt Curtis: The Peckerneck Poet, directed by Bill Plympton.
Here’s the info from Flaherty NYC:
Flaherty NYC Presents: “MIX ME A WALK” – 5 Films by Vanessa Renwick
Monday, April 11 at Anthology Film Archives - Filmmaker in person for disucssion!
Prolific and iconoclastic Oregon filmmaker Vanessa Renwick comes to Anthology to present an adrenaline-pumping, awe-inspiring and sometimes brutal program of new works on video, including several NYC premieres. “MIX ME A WALK” is a both meditation and a holler, using stunning cinematography and rare archival fragments to offer up both the grandeur and the violence of nature. Wolves, coyotes,ravens, eagles, elk, bears, horses and bison may be the stars of this show, but these five films amply demonstrate why Renwick has been a star in the underground film scene for the past couple decades.
One of the cornerstones of Portland’s remarkably fecund scene for moving-image art.
Ed Halter, Rhizome
Filmmaker and curator Vanessa Renwick invites us to contemplate death, and to do so with a proper mix of wrenching horror and ecstatic wonder.
Holly Willis, L.A. Times
Renwick is one of the city’s most venerated filmmakers, having portrayed in more than 20 films everything from nude bicyclists(The Yodeling Lesson) and gray wolves (Critter) to poetic portraits of now-gone local landmarks (Portrait #2: Trojan) and biographies of cantankerous fellow outsider artists (Richart).
Brian Libby, The Oregonian
The program begins with Red Stallion’s Revenge (16mm to video, 7 min., 2007), a remixed and re-scored 1943 western shot at the base of Mt. Shasta, featuring the grudge match of the century between a horse and a bear.
We then leave the animals behind and enter the realm of humans and trees.Food is a Weapon (16mm & Super8 to video, 4 min., 1998) uses haunting logging footage from the 1940’s, revealing old growth treasures looted for the war effort. A eulogy for trees.
Next up is the poignant Woodswoman (video, 10 min., 2010). One hypnotically watches the book “Woodswoman” by Anne LaBastille burning in a fireplace, and learns the place of the book in Renwick’s life, as well as the fate of Anne LaBastille.
We move on to FULL ON LOG JAM (video, 16 min., 2010), a meditation on the forests of the Cascade Mountain Range in Northern Oregon, capturing the grandeur of nature in a way that makes us all too aware of our human transience and vulnerabilities. This video ends with documentation of a Native American on the Warm Springs Reservation splitting firewood at a very, very slow and methodical pace. Using primarily a wedge and a hand sledge, and occassionally a maul, he never misses the log.
His focus and patience prepare us for something of the perseverance witnessed in the Hope and Prey (3-channel video, 23 min., 2010), featuring stunning wildlife cinematography of animals hunting and being hunted in a winter landscape. Wolves, coyotes, ravens, eagles, elk and bison are the stars. The adrenaline-pumping dramatic and sometimes brutal nature cinematography is transformed and elevated through black and white high-contrast recomposition and a hyper-dynamic score by Portland’s infamous underground composer, Daniel Menche.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Vanessa Renwick’s iconoclastic artwork reflects an interest in place, relationships between bodies and landscapes, and all sorts of borders. She is a naturalist, born, not made: a true barefoot and cinematic rabblerouser. Working in experimental and poetic documentary forms since 1983, she has made over 45 films, videos and installations, shown widely and internationally at places like MOMA, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Kitchen, New York Underground Film Festival, Migrating Forms, PDX Festival, Kill Your Timid Notion, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and The Viennale. She’s won many awards over the years, including the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film at the Ann Arbor Festival and First Place in the Peripheral Produce 2001 World Championship Invitationals. As the director of The Oregon Dept. of Kick Ass, Renwick booked, programmed and toured The Lucky Bum Film Tour to over 70 venues across the U.S. and Canada, with Bill Daniel. Renwick is represented by PDX Contemporary Art.