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Interior Gardens: The Films of Sara Kathryn Arledge
Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian,
Los Angeles, CA
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Interior Gardens: The Films of Sara Kathryn Arledge
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Interior Gardens: The Films of Sara Kathryn Arledge
Sunday, March 24, 2019, 7:30 pm
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Guests: Armory Center for the Arts Director of Exhibition Programs/Chief Curator Irene Tsatsos, curator of the exhibition Serene for the Moment; Terry Cannon, founder of Pasadena Filmforum

Sara Kathryn Arledge is one of the undeservedly neglected figures in the American experimental cinema. Although her two major works, INTROSPECTION and WHAT IS A MAN?, were completed in 1946 and 1958, respectively, neither was screened with any frequency until the late 1970s. In his book The Exploding Eye, Wheeler Winston Dixon has written, "Along with Maya Deren and Marie Menken, Sara Kathryn Arledge is one of the foremothers of the American experimental cinema, who worked tirelessly to perfect her art during the span of several decades when she was one of the few practitioners of independent cinema."  Spending much of her life in Pasadena, Filmforum hosted her in 1980, and Filmforum founder Terry Cannon and his wife Mary are responsible for the survival of most of Arledges surviving artworks.

INTROSPECTION was begun in 1941 and was the first abstract dance film made in the United States. Along with Maya Deren's A Study in Choreography for Camera, also made in the mid-'40s, Arledge's film pioneered the genre that came to be known as "cine-dance." WHAT IS A MAN?, her second film, is a series of vignettes which ponder the "alienation" of modern man and woman. Completed shortly after Arledge's release from Napa State Hospital, where she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had undergone numerous electroshock treatments, WHAT IS A MAN? offers a fascinating glimpse into the filmmaker's psyche.

A prolific painter, Arledge also pioneered the medium of hand painting on glass slide transparencies. These largely abstract works, begun in 1947, involved the making of "glass sandwiches," between which she squeezed colored gelatinous sheets which were heated in ovens. The melted gels were then drawn on with toothpicks, Q-tips, crumpled napkins and toilet paper, Sharpie pens and so on. Finding great satisfaction with this process, Arledge would eventually make a number of what she called "stable" films (see TENDER IMAGES and INTERIOR GARDEN), in which she transferred the glass transparencies to 16mm film.  -- Video Art World, April 13, 2011

Sara Kathryn Arledge (1911-1998) was born in Mojave and lived most of her life in Pasadena, CA, from the 1930s to 1980s, with short intervals in Tucson, New York, Philadelphia, and the Bay Area.

Arledge is considered a pioneer of ciné-dance and was one of the first to film dance movement in order to add time to painting. Her psychedelic dance film Introspection (1941-1946) offers a surreal visual experience that abstracts dancers bodies and actions through decidedly low-tech yet ingenious use of costumes, masking, and movement, transforming the human figure into a series of isolated, fragmented limbs in motion. As a filmmaker she created new visual experiences, such as environmental light shows of abstract, hand-painted slide transparencies. Arledge was also a prolific painter, whose psychedelic abstractions feature vivid color and organic shapes, sometimes referencing human, fetal, or animal forms that emphasize the eerie in the mundane and the disorienting passing of time.

Arledges exhibition and screening history is erratic, with many years between various public presentations. Her two major film works, Introspection and What is a Man?, were completed in 1946 and 1958, respectively, yet neither was screened with any frequency until the late 1970s, and even then screenings were very occasional. Her films have been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1977); Pasadena Filmforum (1980); and the Independent Film Festival, Santa Cruz, CA (1982). Her paintings were exhibited decades ago in large, open-call group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum. She also had a retrospective exhibition at the Aarnun Gallery in Pasadena in 1978. Arledge studied painting at University of California, Los Angeles; Columbia University; and the Barnes Foundation.

Her works on paper, films, and ephemera are the subject of an exhibition entitled Sara Kathryn Arledge: Serene for the Moment, at the Armory Center for the Arts through May 12, 2019: https://www.armoryarts.org/exhibitions/2019/arledge/
Reviews of Sara Kathryn Arledge: Serene for the Moment:

Tickets: $10 general; $6 for students/seniors; free for Filmforum members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at   at the door.
For more information: www.lafilmforum.org or 323-377-7238.


1941, 16mm, color, sound, 7 min.
Courtesy of Pacific Film Archives
"Disembodied parts of dancers are seen moving freely in black space ... [they] form a moving and rhythmic three dimensional design of semi-abstract shapes." - Lewis Jacobs, "Avant-Garde Production in America," Experiment in the Film, Grey Walls Press, London, 1949

What Is a Man?
1958, 16mm, color, sound, 10 min.
"Imagery and dialogue stimulated by Finnegan's Wake. It is a satire with undertones of the cosmic spirit." - Sara Kathryn Arledge
"WHAT IS A MAN? propels Sara Kathryn Arledge from the realm of formal experimentation to social satire. Made with a remarkably sharp wit and a trenchant, mocking view of gender conventions, Arledge gives us a work far ahead of its time. Begun in 1951, Arledge received the first Creative Film Foundation award (established by Maya Deren) for script development in 1956 and completed the film in 1958. It was not until Nelly Kaplan's also neglected feature A Very Curious Girl (La Fianc?e Du Pirate, 1969) that women's cinema would once again celebrate such a spirited, subversive artist." - Bill Nichols, from his program notes for the film series "Maya Deren: Her Radical Aspirations and Influences in the Film Avant-Garde," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April-May 1996

Interior Garden
1978, 16mm, color, sound, 7 min.
Seventeen brilliantly colored stable images, accompanied by rain sounds. INTERIOR GARDEN, along with TENDER IMAGES, are filmic combinations of abstract and semi-abstract hand-painted glass transparencies dating from 1947 to 1978.
"A magical original piece from a pioneer experimentalist. A marvelous new technique and powerful perspective into the heart of the poet." - Chick Strand

Tender Images
1978, color, silent, 6 min.
Fifteen imaginative three-dimensional paintings in black, sepia and white light.
"Beautiful and original." - Francis Lee, pioneer filmmaker, NY

Iridum Sinus (Cave of the Rainbows)
1980, 16mm trans to digital, color, sound, 7 min.
Courtesy of Pacific Film Archives

Interior Garden II
1978, 16mm trans to digital, color, sound, 8 min.
Courtesy of Pacific Film Archives

What Do Two Rights Make?
1983, 16mm, color, sound, 15 min.
"The final work from Pasadena's venerable filmmaker is a modern-day Greek tragicomedy, replete with appearances by gods, goddesses, wood-nymphs, and talk show hosts." - Terry Cannon
"I do enjoy uncertain states of mind." - Sara Kathyrn Arledge

Irene Tsatsos is an artist, writer, and Director of Exhibition Programs / Chief Curator at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA, where she recently presented Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico, part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. Tsatsos was the executive director of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) from 1997 until 2005 and has held curatorial positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Arts Club of Chicago, and Chicago's alternative space N.A.M.E., where she served as executive director. Her essays have appeared in numerous titles of Armory Press, in California Video and Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980 (Getty), and others. Tsatsos has participated in exhibition and grant review panels nationally, including for Creative Capital and The National Endowment for the Arts, and was a curator of the inaugural Los Angeles public art biennial, CurrentLA:Water.  Tsatsos has taught writing at My Friend's Place, a drop-in center for at-risk youth, is a member of the Advisory Council of Project X Foundation for Art & Criticism, and is the chair of the board of Women's Center for Creative Work.
Los Angeles Filmforum screenings are supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the citys longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, video art, and experimental animation. 2019 is our 44th year.

Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:
March 14  Babette Mangolte at MOCA
March 15 - Babette Mangolte at the Echo Park Film Center
March 17  Peter Mays Retrospective, part 1, at the Spielberg Theatre
March 24  Films by Sara Kathryn Arledge, at the Spielberg Theatre
March 31  Peter Mays Retrospective, part 2, at the Spielberg Theatre
April 7  Ariana Gerstein, at the Spielberg Theatre

Memberships available, $70 single, $115 dual, or $50 single student
Contact us at lafilmforum@yahoo.com.
Find us online at http://lafilmforum.org.
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LosAngFilmforum!


Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, (View)
6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States


Arts > Visual
Film > Movies

Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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