American animators in the 1970s and 1980s often turned their attention inward, producing personal films which corresponded to the deeply introspective diary filmmakers that formed a key part of the New American Cinema the previous decade. Representing oneself in a mediated fashion—not only through the moving image but graphically through animation—became particularly important during this period in which more women were active in the field of animation than ever before. Maria Lassnig, already an acclaimed Austrian painter for her self portraits, studied animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York and transferred this inward gaze to animated films. Mary Beams often stretches out moments from real life into scenarios that prize imagination and wonder. Gary Beydler’s Hand Held Day is a literal self-reflection, a close-up hand and mirror making a time-lapse record of a day spent in contemplation. Altogether, this screening highlights the different techniques that experimental animators used to intertwine their lives and personalities between the frames of their animated films.
Self Portrait Maria Lassnig, 1973, 5m, 16mm
Three Short Films (School in the Sky, Going Home Sketchbook, Whale Songs) Mary Beams, 1971-80, 21m, 16mm
Milk of Amnesia Jeff Scher, 1992, 6m, 16mm
Odalisque Maureen Selwood, 1980, 12m, digital
Five Short Films (Interior Designs, Remains to Be Seen, Traveling Light, Set in Motion, This Time Around) Jane Aaron, 1980-89, 19m, digital. Restored by NYWIFT.
Glass Gardens Lisa Crafts, 1982, 5m, 16mm
Hand Held Day Gary Beydler, 1975, 6m, 16mm
Q&A with filmmaker Jeff Scher and Skip Blumberg, curator of films by Jane Aaron