Pat O’Neill Get more out of life. Go out to a movie! 05/2016 - 02/2017
Pat O’Neill at Quetzal in April 2016
Pat O’Neill (1939) is an artist and filmmaker whose innovative use of optical techniques anticipated and influenced our contemporary digital landscape. Beginning experiments with collage techniques while still at high school, and transitioning from design to film during his studies at UCLA, he became a professor on the film programme at CalArts and one of the originators of the Los Angeles avant-garde film scene. He also contributed directly to the movie industry through his special-effects company, Lookout Mountain Studios, where over the years he and his crew worked on numerous commercials, shorts and independent films as well as major Hollywood feature films, including the second and third episodes of Star Wars.
In this exhibition at Quetzal Art Centre we focus on O’Neill’s films and foreground the beautiful, surrealistic and humorous qualities of his work. We show eight of his early experimental works, produced between 1963 and 1979, that highlight his complex and enigmatic attention to the collisions and connections between human civilisation and the natural world – a concern that is also evident in his drawings, collages, photographs, photomontages and sculptures. The films in the exhibition are: By the Sea (a collaboration with Robert Abel, 1963), 7362 (1967), Screen (1969), Runs Good (1970), Last of the Persimmons (1972), Saugus Series (1974), Sidewinder’s Delta (1976) and Foregrounds (1979).
Pat O’Neill, Sidewinders Delta, 1979
Highly graphic, reflexive and multi-layered, O’Neill’s films are freewheeling expressions of his mastery of optical printing techniques. In optical printing, filmed images are copied onto raw film stock and subjected to an array of treatments and processes, ranging from fades and multiple exposures to animating manipulation of live-action footage. Combining found images with radical montage and compositing techniques, O’Neill creates a graphic language that reveals the unexpected relationships that form within the frame when diverse and often conventionally conflicting elements are brought together. His skilled orchestration of dissolving boundaries, collapsing narratives and multiple layers of shifting imagery draws the viewer simultaneously towards and away from linear meaning.
Pat O’Neill’s films are visual poetry – an experiential journey along a swift cinematic flow of images, sounds and ideas that sometimes support and sometimes contradict each other, producing radical new possibilities.