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STEPHEN BROOMER

From Impressionism to action painting

From Toronto, by Ontario lake, Stephen Broomer shows a feverish activity around experimental cinema. Besides being the author of a rich filmography, in this decade, he is a film restorer, preserver, researcher and university professor. This program brings together some of his work on celluloid –he also works with video– in which the role of light, color and textures is substantial. Films strongly linked to the place where they have been filmed, composed of multiple layers overlapping, in which contemplation joins the gesture: quick sweeps, collisions and movements that challenge the eye, and make you imagine the filmmaker handling the camera as if he performed a picture of light using the ways of action painting. Works for the future canvas of the screen, which in many cases go through painstaking reworkings that stress, disintegrate or saturate his strokes. A formal search, his, acting as a passage to the dreamy immersion in an imagined, lyrical and ghostly environment to which only cinema can take us.

Acknowledgements: Stephen Broomer.

Queen’s Quay
Canada, 2012, 16mm, 1 min.
Broomer films Queen’s Quay, a street that runs parallel to the shore of Lake Ontario in Toronto, fast moving from left to right turning its horizon into geometric patterns of colors that collide and get mixed.

Bridge 1A
Canada, 2015, 16mm, 2 min.
Swift strokes of light and color just glimpse the landscape around a bridge.

Balinese Rebar
Canadá, 2011, 16mm, 3 min.
Birds in flight break through rusted clouds and translucent buildings. Rebar at a construction site seems to snake through sunlit puddles. (Stephen Broomer)

Memory Worked by Mirrors
Canada, 2011, 16mm, 2 min.
A mirror in the filmmaker’s backyard reflects his childhood home. The black frame of the watermarked mirror becomes a mysterious portal, distorting brick, branch, and flesh into an amorphous hodgepodge. A self-portrait. (SB)

Wastewater
Canada, 2014, 16mm, 1 min.
The North Toronto Wastewater Treatment Plant lies in thick brush downhill from a hydroelectric corridor. The eye bounces, guided by the vertical forms coming up out of the valley, and a low flame bridges these movements. (SB)

Bridge 1B
Canada, 2015, 16mm, 1 min.
Vestiges of a plant world barely intuited after the colors, lights, shadows and photochemical dust.

Conservatory
Canada, 2013, 16mm, 4 min.
Stamens and pistils are lit in rapid succession behind the dome of the Palm House at Allan Gardens in Toronto. The plants trade colour, making alien scenes in the conservatory. Solid forms, too near to the eye, become muddied and indistinct, in constant passage, but the dome and the grid are fixed. (SB)

Serena Gundy
Canada, 2014, 16mm, 3 min.
Serena Gundy Park (named after the wife of an influential businessman in Toronto in the early twentieth century) in the prelude to the spring. A film about the cycle of life, to which its title also refers with its phonetic affinity with Solomon Grundy, nursery rhyme that deals with the entire life of a man while teaching the days of the week.

Snakegrass
Canada, 2012, 16mm, 1 min.
The grass that borders a road in the forest, a road that we will walk with the company of John Fahey’s guitar in calm agitation.

Bridge 1C
Canada, 2015, 16mm, 1 min.
Saturated colors in conflict and constant movement through the passerby’s camera looking upward.

Gulls at Gibraltar
Canada, 2015, 16mm, 3 min.
Seagulls hover and dip on the rocky coastline of Gibraltar Point. Tilting and multiple horizons camouflage the birds, splintering and gathering the lone gull to the flock. (SB)

Landform 1
Canada, 2015, 16mm, 2 min.
Action painting made around camera and light movements: “To be present in a landscape is to turn from vision to a menacing rhythm”.

Christ Church – Saint James
Canada, 2011, 16mm, 7 min.
Christ Church – Saint James, historic black church in the neighborhood of Little Italy in Toronto, was destroyed by fire in 1998. Broomer created –on its ruins– a film of multiple layers, as are the multiple layers of the history –before and after the fire– of that place. Music by John Butcher.

Brébeuf
Canada, 2012, 16mm, 10 min.
In 1649, the ethnographers and Jesuit missionaries Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were killed in St. Ignace II, Huronia, southern Ontario. The images of this film are born from the ashes of that story, the gestures and clashes between conquerors and conquered.

Sala (S8) PALEXCO. 3/06. 20 h.