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The Shape of a Pocket: Anne Colvin and Margaret Tait

Not on view
1/22/2014 - 3/16/2014
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

The works of Scottish, San Francisco-based, moving image artist Anne Colvin and mid-twentieth century Scottish filmmaker and poet, Margaret Tait unfold through gallery installations, film screenings and readings. Colvin's non-linear interruptions complement Tait's 'film poems' to create an experience of found and readymade 'imperfections'. The relationship between these two women—as painterly, poetic and experimental artists—comes to light in a chorus of image and sound. With screens set amongst paper rock sculptures, Colvin’s newly commissioned three-channel video installation A Granite Note creates a haunting call and response refrain using abstracted visual and sonic fragments of boats, flowers and pipers that extend and shrink the chasm between time and image. A separate screening room features two of Tait’s films, Portrait of Ga, a delicate and nuanced portrait of Tait's own mother is evoked through glimpses and personal histories. Colour Poems is a series of lyrical short pieces where spoken word, image, memory and observation serve as existential markers. To frame the collection of Margaret Tait's idiosyncratic poems and short stories, Colvin has created a reading room installation complete with books, ephemera, images, stools recreated from Tait’s 1960s reading at the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh, the U.S. premiere of a new Margaret Tait documentary produced by The Glasgow Women's Library, as well as her own botanical, collaged cut-outs. For the duration of the exhibition a mini film festival will present a selection of Tait's works, which explore an ephemeral sense of self and place.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Anne Colvin is a Scottish artist based in San Francisco who works primarily with the moving image. Working with a combination of found footage and her own filmic observations, Colvin’s work has a heightened awareness of time, frame, texture, and gesture. Colvin’s work was most recently included in One Minute Film Festival: 10 Years, MASS MoCA (2013); Modern Edinburgh Film School, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (2013); The Very Eye of Night, Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles (2012); System Operations, Eli Ridgway Gallery, San Francisco in conjunction with the ZERO1 Biennial (2012); As Yet Untitled, SF Camerawork (2011) and Long Play: Bruce Conner and The Singles Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2010). Colvin is Visiting Faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute and California College of the Arts.

Born in 1918 in Kirkwall on Orkney, Scotland, Margaret Tait qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University 1941. From 1950 to 1952 she studied film at the Centro Sperimentale di Photographia in Rome. Returning to Scotland she established Ancona Films in Edinburgh's Rose Street. In the 1960s Tait moved back to Orkney where over the following decades she made a series of films inspired by the Orcadian landscape and culture. She wrote poetry and stories and produced several books, including three books of poetry. Screenings of her films include the National Film Theatre (London), Berlin Film Festival, Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), Arsenal Kino (Berlin), Pacific Film Archives (San Francisco), Knokke le Zoute, Delhi and Riga. Her final film Garden Pieces was completed in 1998. Margaret Tait died in Kirkwall in 1999.

The Shape of a Pocket: Anne Colvin and Margaret Tait is supported by the Agnes Cowles Bourne Fund for Special Exhibitions. Margaret Tait’s films are courtesy of the artist and LUX, London.


PUBLIC PROGRAMS

The Shape of a Pocket Opening Reception
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Join MCAM for the opening reception of The Shape of a Pocket: Anne Colvin and Margaret Tait.

Margaret Tait: Poet, Filmmaker, Beachcomber Artist
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 | 7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall
Dr. Sarah Neely, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, explores the work and practice of Margaret Tait (1918-1999), a Scottish filmmaker whose approach is largely characterized by its intimate relationship with the immediate surroundings.

Anne Colvin Lecture: 30 Seconds Over Danforth
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 | 7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall
Anne Colvin is a Scottish artist based in San Francisco who works primarily with the moving image. Working with a combination of found footage and her own filmic observations, Anne’s work has a heightened awareness of time, frame, texture, and gesture.

On Throwing a Film Festival
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | 7:00 pm | Danforth Lecture Hall
"I had films to show, produced by myself and the two groups I work with, Ancona Films and Sperimental Film, and a place to show them in, in Edinburgh, so I decided to use this festival time of public receptivity to show our wares…” – Margaret Tait December 1954
Films to be shown include Margaret Tait’s Aerial, Hugh MacDiarmid: A Portrait, Land Makar, On the Mountain, A Place of Work, Tailpiece, and Where I Am Is Here. Courtesy of Margaret Tait and LUX. London.


Exhibition Objects (6)


Exhibition Images (1)



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