The Color and the Shape 

Abstract films

The '50s are often perceived as a rather staid and buttoned-down decade, typified by Leave It to Beaver and an "I Like Ike" mentality. But there are visionaries in every generation, those who are so far ahead of their contemporaries that they still seem cutting edge even 50 years later. Take Stan Brakhage, for example. The Kansas City-born filmmaker scratched his film stock, wrote on it, etched shapes and symbols into it; when projected, these once-static marks leap and shake, vibrating with life. For his film Mothlight, Brakhage pressed twigs, leaves and insect wings between two sheets of plastic and then ran the collage through the projector. Leaves and wings race by, melting into one another, implying a connection between all things. In conjunction with its current exhibition Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976 the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org) screens Selected Shorts by Shirley Clark, Stan Brakhage and their Contemporaries at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are $3 to $5.
Fri., Dec. 12, 2008

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