"I am fascinated by the technology of the nineteenth century, the
birth of film and its inextricable link to the Victorian sensibility.
The hallmark of this aesthetic lies in its tightly-laced obsession with
detail and decoration, decorum and charm. All objects, from a memory
quilt to a camera, were compulsively lavished with the same ornamental
decorations. While on one level my modernity is repelled by this
fussiness, on another level I feel oddly liberated by this outrageously
sensual adornment of objects, regardless of their function.
"Yet the Victorian fixation on complicated patterning belies a fear
of the empty space. I feel there is, within their flourishes, a language
I must decipher. To get close enough, to get inside the design is to see
patterns of desire, patterns of repression, a pattern that blossoms to
encompass generations. As Louise Bourgeois once said, '...The making of
art is an insight into the source of compulsion....Art is the privilege
of insight into craving.'
"The processes I am drawn to require much tedious, repetitive labor.
Although I often work with sophisticated technology, I see my work in
the tradition of women's lap craft. I find the time spent obsessively
performing these mundane tasks is essential, for it is during this time
that I develop an intimate understanding of the imagery I create. I hand
paint one frame at a time; I move images, pixel by pixel; I shoot film
frame by frame. With my attention focused on the miniature, each frame
is a separate entity, an entire world. My fascination with the handmade,
the awkward and sentimental is at odds with the contemporary medium
within which I work. The dynamic play between practical technology and
rhapsodic subject matter is the motivation that propels my work
About the Work
Effigy - specimens 4 to 12 is composed of digitally animated
photograms that were created by placing organic materials directly on
unexposed 35mm film and flashing it with light. "The whole atmosphere
of Effigy seems to be on some extreme precipice of human existence,
either within the womb or at the first moments after one's death."
About the Artist
Sheri Wills is an experimental filmmaker and computer artist, currently
an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island. She
holds an MFA in filmmaking and an MA in Modern Art, Theory and Criticism
from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has screened
around the world, including Thailand, Japan, Antarctica, France, Chile,
Spain, Estonia, Russia, England and France and has been selected for
screening at film festivals such as the International Festival of Film
in Rotterdam. She has recently curated a program of films called
Synesthesia: The Musical Form in Contemporary Avant-Garde Film.