Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
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Moving Landcapes: Short Films by Larry Gottheim and JJ Murphy
April 15, 2008 - June 8, 2008
Media Gallery
Still from the film, "Fog Line" by Larry Gottheim, 1970

Moving Landscapes features two canonical short films: Fog Line (1970) by Larry Gottheim and Sky Blue Water Light Sign (1972) by JJ Murphy. These two works, which are firmly ensconced in the history of American independent film-making, are inspired equally by nineteenth-century American landscape painting and by early cinema. Intrinsic to these films of the 1970s is a critique of the commercialization of film itself, which is expressed principally in the formal assembly of both films. Most startlingly, both consist of a single uninterrupted shot.  Just as disorientingly, there is no action in either of these films – for most viewers, the first viewing reveals simply images of landscape— which further suggests a strong departure from the conventions of narrative cinema, and the emergence of a pointedly anti-commercial aesthetic.  Demanding a different, closer kind of scrutiny, one that strays from the viewing conventions of narrative cinema and requires of us as viewers, especially today, unusual concentration and attentiveness, these films reveal unprecedented painterly visual richness, conceptual complexity, and wit.