April 17, 2007 -- The University of Virginia Art Museum will feature 'Animation Highlights from the 2007 Black Maria Film Festival' in its new media gallery through May 7. The selection of four short films will be on view during regular museum hours, Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
"GLASS CROW" - 6 min. by Steven Subotnick, Providence, R.I.
This noted animation artist has created a compelling visual meditation on the spark that began the Thirty Years War. Richly layered, hand-rendered images explore the worlds of nature, humanity and heaven during this moment in history.
"PHANTOM CANYON" - 10 min. by Stacey Steers, Boulder, Colo.
This is truly an extraordinary collage animation in which phantasmagoric Victorian-era cutouts of cherubs, gargoyles and women in petticoats trip across the screen in a symphony of mythological images. This is a masterful, symbolic depiction of the travails and triumphs in the life of a woman who is freed by the spirit of a star child.
"EL DOCTOR" - 24 min. by Suzan Pitt, Los Angeles, Calif.
“El Doctor” is a fantastical animated film set in a decrepit Mexican hospital circa 1920. While the hospital is inhabited by surreal characters including the man shot with one hundred holes, the girl who sprouted morning glories and the woman who thinks she is a horse, the protagonist Doctor prefers to imbibe alcohol. The Saint of Holes and a mysterious gargoyle rearrange the Doctor’s fated demise and send him on a twisted journey. Ultimately, the film celebrates the nature of perception and the miraculous
"AND, LO, GUILHARMENIA" - 17 min. by Louise Despont and Maria Dyer, New York, N.Y.
An enigmatic film mixing dream-states, memories, reality and fantasy is about Guilharmenia, who has a serpentine cord condition (seen in metaphorical form as a rope) and who lives in enchanted isolation. When a balloon descends into her forest and crashes, she and the pilot, a sickly bird-spirit man, make love. In an attempt to heal him, she constructs an elaborate mandala out of colored sands, crystals and spiritual trinkets that generates a healing ritual.