March 25, 2012
Phil Solomon will present his three-channel installation “American Falls”, which Art Forum critic Tony Pipolo describes as a “work epic in conception and form… (and that) anyone still touched by the poetic viability of the avant-garde should not miss an opportunity to see it.” Solomon will be in attendance for a program of his own 16mm films and videos presented as part of the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival, in the Michigan Theater on Friday, March 30th. American Falls will be on exhibition at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design’s Work • Ann Arbor gallery from March 25 - April 2 .
American Falls was originally commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. for the museum’s grand Rotunda. Inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s 1857 masterpiece Niagara and by Washington’s monumental war memorials, American Falls explores the aspirations and struggles that lie at the heart of the American Dream. The installation depicts scenes ranging from everyday life to major figures and events that shaped American history dissolve in and out of the waters of the Niagara Falls. Solomon’s resources for these images include Hollywood cinema, found footage, and documentary accounts of historical events.
Solomon’s innovative use of altered film emulsion transforms Niagara Falls into a metaphoric landscape, encouraging the audience to consider how a place can reflect the events that occur on its shores. Envisioning the currents of history as a collective dream, American Falls considers many of the questions inherent in our national identity, at a crucial moment in this country’s passage.
While relatively unknown among contemporary art audiences, Phil Solomon has achieved a high level of recognition in the world of experimental and avant-garde cinema. Solomon has been included in New York’s prestigious Whitney Biennial of American Art twice. His films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New York Film Festival; the Sundance Film Festival; and at many other prestigious national and international festivals and venues. He has won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1993) and The Thatcher Hoffman Smith Award (2007), as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Capital Foundation. His films are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many other institutions. A longtime colleague of (and collaborator with)
legendary filmmaker Stan Brakhage, Solomon is a Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. For more information, visit: http://www.philsolomon.com/.