For the X4 assignment I was running a bit behind on time for completing requested work, I decided to remedy this issue by attended the screening of six of Julia Oldham’s short films. The presentation was held at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus, beginning at 7pm on the 19th of November. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from the artist after reading the short description on the website of the event hall, but I was intrigued by it so I went there with an open mind and am now happy I did.
Our artist was introduced and she gave a nice in-depth look at her background, what her inspirations towards her works were and a glimpse of some of the process’ that contributed to them becoming a finished piece. She tells her story of how she was raised by a father who was a physics, a stay at home mother who was an amazing gardener and a pack of dogs. Growing up in very rural area in Maryland, there were not many other children for companionship and so she would spend much of her time exploring the woods and garden with her dogs, drawing and doing science experiment with her parents. Her revelation came while she was attending University of Chicago and began experimenting with video. Her short films incorporate whimsical elements of the natural world and the wonders and facts of science world. She plays a wide array of characters while starring in her own films and uses a number of mediums to share her stories. She often collaborates with others including her father and husband who also happens to be a physics. She and her husband live and work in Eugene,OR. Her work has been shown in galleries all over the United States. The short films presented were all from between 2010-2012.
The first film to be shown was called Mud Lair, where she plays a woman in love with a coyote and has to tell him goodbye. She works works with animator Jenny Kroik to produce a musical stop frame film about the love affair with the coyote. Although I found myself with raised eyebrows and head tilted in wonder a few times over the love dance with the fake fur cloak meant to be the coyote. I did appreciate the unique creativity in her work and that she had used her own music as an added element of the piece.
On another piece of work titled Infinitely Impossible tells a story about an unrequited love between a woman and infinity and her increasingly bizarre tasks in attempting to find infinity. What I appreciated about this was how she went about conveying something where that is a bit of a challenge to do with film and still staying true to her vision and the facts of science. In the film the were sounds but no voice instead a narrative screen was placed in between shots, so it was easy to relate what was happening visually to the story line.
From These Woods is a story about a deer that can travel between dreams. It was an interesting story that use real life footage coupled with animation of the deer she had drawn and created. The story was calming as well as triggering wonder and also had an element of humor to it.
In all her work I noticed the scenery in which she shot her video and I was impressed by it because it to was very creative even with some of it being very norm she was able to add elements to make it unique and interesting. This woman’s ideas may be a little outlandish for some but I really appreciated the opportunity to see it and respect her vision for being so original and true to itself. I thought it to be very cool how she meshed very different worlds and elements together to come up with the end product. Julia’s work is also great in that it encourages you to open your mind and think and feel differently.