In that enchanted place at the top of the forest …

This week we continue to bring you behind-the-scenes insight into Kelly Richardson’s work in conjunction with the exhibition Kelly Richardson: Legion, on view through June 9.

In Twilight Avenger, 2008, viewers initially find themselves staring at what appears to be a nighttime scene of a forest. However, this tranquil setting is interrupted when a seemingly radioactive green stag meanders into the frame and pauses to nose around. By introducing incongruous imagery to a classic Romantic landscape reminiscent of forest fables and fairy tales, Richardson has created a scene that is more science-fiction film than Aesop’s Fables, cleverly challenging our preconceived notions of what is real in both nature and art.

The high technical level Richardson achieved in this work is nothing less than astonishing; it is especially evident when the reality of its creation is explored against the seamless experience the viewer has when encountering the work. Richardson actually filmed the components for Twilight Avenger in several settings across three continents, later combining the footage during the editing process. The stag was filmed in Jedburgh, Scotland; the background was filmed in Kielder, England; and the massive tree that holds the foreground was filmed in Algonquin Park, Canada. Richardson was kind enough to share images of each setting with us, which we are sharing here with you—a bit of a spoiler, we know, but sometimes it’s fun to peel back the layers of a work to its naissance.

No, really—the sky is falling!

This week we continue to feature Kelly Richardson’s work in conjunction with Kelly Richardson: Legion, a major mid-career survey exhibition that takes an extensive look at Richardson’s audio-visual installation works of the past fifteen years. So far we have made our way through works created between 1998 and 2005—and now for something completely different.

In many of her previous works, Richardson used humor as an entry point for the viewer. In 2006, she began to rethink this approach, deciding that it was too specific and, in her own words, “there was a risk that viewers may not get beyond the joke, which was integral to the work.” Filmed in the Lake District in England on Derwentwater between the very early hours of 4:30 and 5:30 am, Exiles of the Shattered Star, 2006, is the first work in which Richardson decidedly used beauty and The Sublime to peak interest from the viewer. Aside from this shift in thematic content, the work also represents another shift in Richardson’s working practice. She manipulated the video pixel by pixel, for the first time maintaining complete control over the aesthetics of the work, which enabled her to manipulate its mood and ambiance. For example, the setting Richardson filmed, and the resulting footage, was actually much brighter than it appears in the final presentation—to get the end result, the artist color-graded the sky so that it replicates a twilight scape.

According to Richardson, Exiles also touches upon numerous themes and interests she continues to explore, such as multiple realities and the shift toward an increasingly digitalized world; the conditional status of modern culture in relation to a natural world and the environment that supports it; contemporary cinema and a recent host of films that depict apocalyptic and end-of-the-world storylines, which she feels “describes a certain collective anxiety towards a very uncertain future”; and, above all, the psychological landscape—which is produced by a culmination of these themes—where the viewer is the sole character.

Next up: Dreams of nature and nocturne.

There is a first time for everything

image

This week we continue to feature Kelly Richardson’s work in conjunction with Kelly Richardson: Legion. According to Richardson, the impetus behind A car stopped at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, in front of a landscape, 2001, was “arresting this moment in a sci-fi B-movie called Circuitry Man when a car, being driven by a cyborg through an otherwise empty desert landscape, stops suddenly at a stop sign, the placement of which has no function other than to serve as a one-liner within the film sequence.” Instead of merely editing the film clip and presenting it in a different context, Richardson created a video work that not only makes the filmic moment last forever, but carries the viewer through a number of conflicting sensations ranging from humor and confusion to serenity.

Sometimes, one idea can have significant impact on the course of an artist’s practice, as is the case with Richardson’s idea for A car stopped … . In order to capture and extend the moment from the film, Richardson had to combine the still image with a moving image, the sky, and the sound of an idling car. At the time, she did not own any equipment that enabled her to edit video at such a sophisticated level. But, where there is a will, there is a way. About that time, Richardson recalls: “I went to a production house in Toronto to have them quote for the job, which was $5,000. During the same time, Apple had just released computers for the home market which were the first pro-sumer machines capable of editing video. The cost to invest was a little less than $5,000. I chose to invest in my practice rather than a singular idea and set about learning basic tricks of the trade to produce this work.” And, just like that, Richardson’s ability to visually manipulate moving images was born. You can almost hear all the doors opening.

Next up: The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Image: Detail of Kelly Richardson’s A car stopped at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, in front of a landscape, 2001. Standard-definition digital video with stereo sound, edition of 5. Running time: 30-minute loop. Courtesy the artist and Birch Libralato, Toronto. Image courtesy the artist.

What EEZ IT, man? 

Kelly Richardson: Legion opened last weekend and, as promised, we are continuing to feature some behind-the-scenes insight into Richardson’s work.

This week, we bring you Glow, 1998, one of Richardson’s earliest works. The artist wanted to create a video about TV that could also be shown on a TV. This work doesn’t play out like a cheesy sitcom or stagey soap opera; instead of offering the viewer a narrative that unfolds in a traditional manner, Richardson filmed the “glow” of the television from the side. The resulting ambient light reads more like an abstract painting, leaving the viewer to further the content with his or her own imagination. We’ll let you in on a little secret, though—the show playing on the TV when she filmed the work was the 1990s cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show!

Next up: It’s all fun and games until the guy with the hockey mask shows up.

Is it me, or is this room spinning?

Last Friday, February 1, a prequel to Kelly Richardson: Legion (which opens in full on February 16) debuted in the Gallery for New Media. The three featured works represent a pivotal point in Richardson’s career, during which she began incorporating simple editing and special-effect techniques to capture fleeting moments that are comical, yet disorienting. Thankfully, the artist is a really nice gal, and she has provided us with some great behind-the-scenes insight into her work, and, in some cases, even outtakes. We will continue to feature these throughout the exhibition.

This week, we bring you an abode constructed out of yogurt containers and a runaway tire. In Ferman Drive, 2005, a simple tracking shot taken from the window of a car becomes extraordinary when a spinning house flashes before our eyes. Richardson shot the model of the house against a white wall on top of a roll of duct tape, on top of a turntable. Pretty tech savvy, huh? In The Sequel, 2004, an abandoned tire comes alive and exits stage right. Where do you think it is going? Click on the images above to see more.

Next up: What do Ren, Stimpy, and Kelly Richardson have in common? Stay “tuned” to find out.

Spotlight on Kelly Richardson
Kelly Richardson will be on-site for the next few weeks, working with the Gallery’s staff to install Kelly Richardson: Legion, which takes an extensive look at the artist’s audio-visual works of the past fifteen years. Richardson grew up in Guelph, Ontario, just two hours from Buffalo. While she currently lives in Whitley Bay, England, we like to think of the Albright-Knox as her second home, given that the Gallery holds more of her works in its Collection than any other museum worldwide (three, to be exact).
Drawing on science fiction and horror films, and preexisting art historical narrative devices such as the apocalyptic sublime, Richardson merges photography, film, and video to create large-scale, immersive installations that reconsider our relationship with the natural world. Themes of environmental decay, suburban sprawl, and the uncertainty of space exploration lead to progressive interpretations of the landscape, leaving us to question the impact civilization has had on the natural world.
Over the next few months, we will be featuring works from this exhibition through an exploration of Richardson’s working process. And, if you’re not already planning on it, we invite you to brave the cold to come see this exhibition, which opens next Saturday, February 16. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Next up: Is it me, or is this room spinning?
IMAGE: Kelly Richardson in front of her work Mariner 9, 2012. Photograph by Colin Davison.

Spotlight on Kelly Richardson

Kelly Richardson will be on-site for the next few weeks, working with the Gallery’s staff to install Kelly Richardson: Legion, which takes an extensive look at the artist’s audio-visual works of the past fifteen years. Richardson grew up in Guelph, Ontario, just two hours from Buffalo. While she currently lives in Whitley Bay, England, we like to think of the Albright-Knox as her second home, given that the Gallery holds more of her works in its Collection than any other museum worldwide (three, to be exact).

Drawing on science fiction and horror films, and preexisting art historical narrative devices such as the apocalyptic sublime, Richardson merges photography, film, and video to create large-scale, immersive installations that reconsider our relationship with the natural world. Themes of environmental decay, suburban sprawl, and the uncertainty of space exploration lead to progressive interpretations of the landscape, leaving us to question the impact civilization has had on the natural world.

Over the next few months, we will be featuring works from this exhibition through an exploration of Richardson’s working process. And, if you’re not already planning on it, we invite you to brave the cold to come see this exhibition, which opens next Saturday, February 16. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

Next up: Is it me, or is this room spinning?

IMAGE: Kelly Richardson in front of her work Mariner 9, 2012. Photograph by Colin Davison.