Program notes for Independent Film Maker Joyce Wieland (3/8/1972)

FILM SECTION Museum of Art Carnegie Institute
Wednesday March 8
Independent Film Maker Joyce Wieland
Joyce Wieland’s films elude easy categorization. The body of work as a whole is varied - there are films of a formal nature, and others which are less so. Several are political, concerned with technology, ecology, and her native land, Canada. Her films are informed by her involvement in other, more directly tactile art forms - painting, drawing, construction - and in crafts such as quilting. She makes padded wall hangings, pillowed quilts, and embroidery. There is an evident concern with textures and/or colors and their relationships within the frame and within the shaping of each film as a whole. There is, moreover, a cross-fertilization process at work between film and the other art forms in which she works. Since 1967, Wieland has centered more and more of her artistic energies in film. - Regina Cornwell, ART FORUM MAGAZINE.
Miss Wielands films have been shown in a number of festivals including Cannes, France; Oberhausen, Germany; Sonsbeek 71, Holland; Knokke-Le-Zoute, Belgium; Edinburgh and the third Independent Film Makers Festival in New York City at which she won two prizes for "Rat Life and Diet in North America." Her films are in many museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Royal Belgium Film Archives; Austrian Film Archive and the National Gallery of Canada which has her complete film works. For the last 2 1/2 years Joyce Wieland has been working on. the script for a feature film called "Tru Patriot Love", a fictional story about Tom Tompson, the Canadian pai ter and Eulalie de Chicoutimi, set in Canada in 1919.
The following films will be shown by Miss Wieland:
CATFOOD (1967-68)
"A cat eats its methodical way through a polymorphous fish. The projector devours the ribbon of film at the same rate, methodically. The Lay of Grim-nir mentions a wild boar whose magical flesh was nightly devoured by the heroes in Valhalla, and miraculously regenerated next morning in the kitchen. The fish in Wieland’s film, and the miraculous flesh of film itself, are resurrected on the rewinds, to be devoured again. Here is a dionysian metaphor, old as the West, of immense strength. Once we see that the fish is the protagonist of the action, this metaphor reverberates to incandescence in the mind." - Hollis Frampton.
"I can tell you that Wieland’s film holds. It may be about the best (or richest) political movie around. It’s all about rebels (enacted by real rats) and police (enacted by real cats). After a long suffering under the cats, the rats break out of the prison (in a full scale rebellion) and escape to Canada. There they take up organic g rdening, with no DDT in the grass. It is a parable, a satire, an adventure movie, or you can call it pop art or any art you want - I find it one of the most original films matte recently." - Jonas Mekas.
"RAT LIFE AND DIET IN NORTH AMERICA, proves that she’s been looking long and affectionately at animal life, and is a sort of whimsical, Evelyn Nesbit, never corny and creating with an intense female-ness. - Manny Farber, ART FORUM MAGAZINE.
"Joyce Wieland's films are among the most endearing I have ever seen, making her point and sealing the issue in a womanly way without any concern for ragged edges. LA RAISON AVANT LA PASSION is a whirlwind view of Canada with an anti-dialectical premise." - "New Film in Tornoto" by Douglas Pringle, ARTSCANADA, April 1970.
"Trudeau is the only human being treated closely by the film; after him, there is only more and more of the numbing wonder of the extent of the land, but he is all you need. Joyce Wieland’s movie, like Canada, is as pure and simple as a public monument - too simple and direct to ignore, too complex in its approach to simplicity for anyone to forget for long." - Barry Hale, Toronto STAR.
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