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Stephanie Maxwell: Animated Works 1984-2007

Stephanie Maxwell

DVD (NTSC - Region Free)
Released - 2008
TRT 86min



Price $30.00 -- Add To Cart


Institutional price: $100.00 -- Add To Cart






Stephanie Maxwell has been creating stunningly beautiful and original experimental animation for over twenty years. As a film artist who specializes in hand painting and engraving directly onto the surface of 35mm film stock, Maxwell employs a wide variety of materials and tools, including paints, markers, bleach, stencils, engraving tools, airbrush and many more experimental techniques.

The result is an exuberant flurry of color, form, and sound. Multi-layered, vibrant and complex, her films reveal the artist's unique sensibility for crafting fine art in motion. Collected here are all fourteen of Maxwell’s major works from GA (1984) to Runa’s Spell (2007). These award-winning films have been exhibited at media festivals worldwide. Also included on the DVD is a new, fascinating documentary in which Maxwell demonstrates her unique and unusual techniques.



In this Volume:
GA 1984 Watch a clip
Animal motifs are represented in a diurnal, abstract motion world. Music: prerecorded vocals and percussion work from Ghana.
Please Don’t Stop 1989 Watch a clip
A wild road journey through both representational and abstract landscapes.
Music: original electronic sound score.
Driving Abstractions 1997
The experience of driving at night is abstracted in the form of colorful and energetic bursts and patterns of light in a three dimensional darkness.
Music: electronic sound score by Bill Haslett.
Outermost 1998
In this jointly, interactively conceived and realized work, the creators attempted to achieve unique correlations between colorful abstract animated film imagery and complementary musical textures and colors. The goal was to create a work in which musical ideas and visual images are perceived to “chase” each other, to “dance,” and to pull apart and come back together again in cyclical arcs. The music was mainly realized by computer analysis, re-synthesis and transformation of a rich palette of non-Western and Western acoustic sound sources, and through rhythmic and harmonic patterns created by both algorithmic and intuitive compositional procedures.
Music: Allan Schindler.
Nocturne 1999 Watch a clip
The icy, long and dark nights of remote northern latitudes can easily create feelings of hypnotic isolation and disorientation. Like an imaginary compass, chance glimpses and glimmers of light mixed with sparse, restless sounds give direction and meaning in a dark and secluded environment. The lyrical narrative of Nocturne may be thought of as an apprehensive and compelling passage through the darkness, charged by sudden visual surges and plays of light, and the progressive tightening of the musical form.
Music: Greg Wilder.
Somewhere 1999
Somewhere aims to create a fluid, high energy, game-like effect, intricate in its construction but often impulsive and sometimes unpredictable in its constantly shifting focus and gestures. “Close”, “distant” and illusory spatial perceptions, and a play between symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns (which often “turn on a dime”) underlie the formal design and expression of both the imagery and the music. Many of the musical sounds were created by computer acoustical analysis and, during re-synthesis, transformation of instrumental, vocal and environmental sounds. Algorithmic programs written by the composer generated many of the rhythmic, melodic and textural ideas, but others were created the “old fashioned” way, at the composer’s piano.
Music: Allan Schindler.
Fragments 2000 Watch a clip
An abstract work in which light, movement, space and sound conjure the existence of a character in personal turmoil and transformation. The music relies heavily on computer analysis and re-synthesis of real world sounds, as well as the ‘chopping’ of pre-existing sounds into tiny fragments and then recombining them in such a way as that they take on new identities. The visuals are ‘real time’ animations of objects and graphic materials that were transformed using experimental frame extraction and recombination techniques in digital post-production.
Music: Greg Wilder.
terra incognita 2001
This work is a fusion of imagery and music expressing an ever-changing flux and paradox in perceived space and location and involves notions of navigation, geometry, and mapping. The basic sound sources, including mbira, pygmy pipe and gamelan metallophone tones, were digitally transformed and then contrapuntally layered, inter-cut, diced and threaded into a pulsating “web” design suggested by the visual imagery.
Music: Allan Schindler.
passe-partout 2002
An abstract film/music composition that conjures an atmosphere where an aerial mobile is magically suspended in a three-dimensional space. The floating pendants of the mobile each reveal a mysterious world filled with unique visual and aural forms, movements and gestures. The computer-generated music consists of continuous variations and transformations of a seemingly simple but open-ended harmonic theme that caroms through many key centers. However, this theme takes shape gradually, and is heard most clearly in a choral setting only after all five “protagonists” of the work have been introduced.
Music: Allan Schindler.
Time Streams 2003
The spiral-like structure and unbroken momentum of this film/music composition suggest intersecting streams or ribbons of time: not simply the familiar (although perhaps illusory) forward, linear, march-of-clock time, but rather a nexus in which backwards time (e.g., dreams, recollections and déjà vu), parallel temporalities, and the non-continuous splicing together of segments of time are equally prominent. The principal sound sources of the music are generic samples such as digitized recordings of instrumental and vocal tones, and of environmental sounds such as ice cubes and ping-pong balls. However, in re-synthesis the spectral structures (tone colors) of these sounds often have been retooled and their attack and decay articulations have been altered.
Music: Allan Schindler.
Reflecting Pool 2004
Sometimes the smallest event can have the most profound repercussions. Reflecting Pool creates a contemplative but highly charged visual and musical expedition through a cycle of chaos and recovery. The music for Reflecting Pool includes processed saxophone signals to produce various colors and textures that have been layered with musical compositions of sampled sounds. Live performances of this work include saxophone played with a prerecorded soundtrack synced with the imagery. In addtion to painting on film, the techniques used to create the imagery of this multi-layered work include sand animation, and animated recordings of changing light reflections and movements of microscopic water creatures.
Collaboration with Randall Hall (composer/musician) and Matt Costanza (filmmaker).
Second Sight 2005
This work presents a passage through a mist in which perception is ultimately clarified and sharpened rather than obscured. The computer-generated music of Second Sight features cyclical returns of a nucleus of core ideas, which alternate with a continuous progression of new ideas.
Collaboration with Allan Schindler (composer) and Peter Byrne (media artist).
All That Remains 2006
This work is an intricate mosaic of sequences of animated abstract images and musical passages that create a chaotic, yet coherent and tightly choreographed portrayal of figurative matter in perpetual decomposition. The sound consists of dynamic and evolving patterns of music textures and phrases. Dense masses of granular particles often converge to create progressive patterns of movement, which alternate with recurring looped vocal passages.
Music: Michaela Eremiasova.
Runa’s Spell 2007 Watch a clip
This work conveys a moment of connectedness with the sensual persuasions of an imaginary world. The image and music interact in a dramatic way to deepen and enhance the perception of an abstracted experience not far removed from its earthy provenance. The music attempts to create a spiritual sense of journey through the fractional evocation of ancient Egyptian folk song. The sonorous texture of trembling and contorted sound-images illustrates the hesitation, solitude and endless dreamscape of the human mind.
Music: Michaela Eremiasova.
The Art Form of Stephanie Maxwell 2007 Watch a clip
The Art Form of Stephanie Maxwell presents the artist in her studio at home where she creates and builds her unusual experimental animations. Maxwell discusses her work, and demonstrates original processes and technical discoveries that have resulted in the unique image and motion expressions that characterize her work. In this documentary, the artist is seen at her light table where she hand-makes imagery, and at her camera where she manipulates and re-photographs the handmade film to create some spectacular effects. There are many clips from her body of work that demonstrate the uniqueness of her ideas and her image experimentation, and the complex and profound approach to cinema that distinguish her as a master of the art form of experimental animation. Additionallly, composer Allan Schindler discusses their collaborative endeavours and talks about the nature of 'true collaboration'.

Stephanie Maxwell's Homepage
Stephanie Maxwell's artist profile
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