Lady animators at the Eye & Ear Clinic

The animation of Martha Colburn and Maria Lassnig…


On November 30, Eye & Ear Clinic will host the work of animators Maria Lassnig and Martha Colburn.

From the Eye & Ear press release: “Although Lassnig and Colburn’s works are 30-years apart, they share many of the same concerns. These are in part political, as both demonstrate an engagement with feminism and gender politics, and the impact of culture in informing men and womens’ self-images, and partly in their creative processes, as both artists are largely self-taught. Through their uniquely offbeat approaches, Colburn and Lassnig bring something to the history of handmade animation that cannot be learned in a classroom.

Maria Lassnig is a painter and animator who made most of her films in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Her work employs a more direct register, exploring the friction between feminist politics and the desire for a romantic relationship (the personal and the political) and experimenting with bodily abstraction through a feminist lens concurrent with the time. Maya McKeachneay writes, “[Lassnig’s] unconventional films, made with stencil, watercolors or felt-tip pen; her blue-box performances, vocal numbers and split-screen experiments show even more clearly than her painting, the Carinthian artist’s sense of humor and enjoyment of experimentation.” Lassnig’s animations are unpretentious, and at times unabashedly sentimental; they are wry and hilarious. Although her work has received more attention in recent years in the USA, her film work is still relatively obscure. This is the first time Lassnig’s animations will screen in Chicago.

Martha Colburn’s work is equally feminist, but more complex, fusing scathing political critique and pop cultural assemblage with humorous and terrifying explosions of gender binaries, through live action (paint-on-glass) animations, found footage and documentary filmmaking techniques. Her films fuse incendiary classical scores and frenetic editing; they are disorientating–a battlefield strewn with the bloody fragments of received history and ideology. Jonas Mekas writes, “bordering on the outrageous, crackling frame energy, Martha Colburn’s films are naked testimonials of our times, and of her generation.”

Refracted Lens is a film series committed to exhibiting cutting-edge and underrepresented film, video, and new media work, organized by grad students in Art History/Arts Admin Beth Capper and Kelly Shindler.