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In Focus: Mary Helena Clark 1

And the Sun Flowers

Mary Helena Clark | 2008 | USA | 5’ | Digital | English spoken

“Henry James had his figure in the carpet, Da Vinci found faces on the wall. Within this Baltimore wallpaper: a floral forest of hidden depth and concealment, the hues and fragrance of another era. Surface decoration holds permeable planes, inner passages. There emerges a hypnotic empyrean flower, a solar fossil a speaking anemone, of paper, of human muscle, of unknown origin, delivering an unreasonable message of rare tranquillity.” (Mark McElhatten)

Sound over Water

Mary Helena Clark | 2009 | USA | 6’ | 16mm | sound

“A metamorphosis, flocks to shimmer, on a granular day. Blue water and blue sky meet on emulsion. A film for lost memories.” (Mary Helena Clark)

By foot-candle light

Mary Helena Clark | 2011 | USA | 9’ | Digital | sound

A walk through the proscenium wings. You close your eyes and suddenly it is dark. “In the dream we call cinema there is no either, no or. We move from cave to forest to theatre and back again, certain only that we are elsewhere, at least until the reel runs out. Here is objective truth, or ‘hypnosis’ by another name.” (Ben Russell)

The Plant

Mary Helena Clark | 2012 | USA | 8’ | Digital | sound

A film filled with clues and stray transmissions built on the bad geometry of point-of-view shots. In The Plant, Clark’s camera plays detective: hunting the exterior of Bertrand Goldberg’s iconic Marina City and spying on a man pretending to be blind. She notes, “I think my earlier movies were looking for the hidden and mysterious and my newer films have a sensitivity to what’s in plain sight.”

Orpheus (outtakes)

Mary Helena Clark | 2012 | USA | 6’ | 16mm | English spoken

“Using footage from Cocteau’s Orphée, Mary Helena Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames.” (Andréa Picard)

The Dragon is the Frame

Mary Helena Clark | 2014 | USA | 14’ | 16mm | sound

“An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression.” (Mary Helena Clark)

The Dragon is the Frame is both an ode to the city of San Francisco and an oblique memorial to Clark’s friend, artist Mark Aguhar. Lyrical sequences take the viewer through physical and psychological space, reminding that the first trauma in Hitchcock’s classic film Vertigo, is not the apparent suicide of main character Madeline Elster, but the loss of a friend.

In the presence of Mary Helena Clark and followed by a Q&A.