Joseph Bernard

Posting #19

Posted on May 29, 2017

Activities Past, Present & Upcoming

Following are a number of miscellaneous events that have either just taken place or are about to, in various locations.

Eye_reels_04Film still from “Eye Reels”, 1980

 

My work was recently curated by Duo Strangloscope (Cláudia Cardenas & Rafael Schlichting) into Super-8 film festivals in Curitiba, Brazil and Valparaiso, Chile.

The spring issue (#3) of Found Footage Magazine, a printed film journal published in Spain (In both English & Spanish; César Ustarroz, Editor-in-Chief) reproduced a film still from “Eye Reels”, 1980.

Light Movement presented “The Outskirts of a Dreamed Map” — a James Edmonds / Petra Graf curated program, in Athens, Greece on May 26, 2017. My film “Drawings on Africa”, 1981, was included. For a full program of the show; click here.

Mike Gubbins, of Nashville, re-edited, added original music, moments of color and digital tiling to my b&w “The Function of Film”, 1982. It can be seen here on YouTube. 

“36 Love Letters to Super-8” is being published as a bi-lingual zine-book in conjunction with the 8th Annual Film Festival in  A Coruña, Spain, May 31 - June 4, 2017. I’m proud to have been invited to write one of those letters.

On June 3, 2017, the Oslo, Norway MUSIKKFEST will feature the work of composer/ musician Simon Gore. Among his compositions is the sound version of “White Film”, 1978, which will be screened that night.

Filmmaker/Curator, Emmet Casey of the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles, CA has proposed to show selections from PRISMATIC MUSIC for a July 2017 screening. Details when available.

 

Drawings_on_africaFilm still from “Drawings on Africa”, 1981

 

 

Posting #18

Posted on April 24, 2017

PRISMATIC MUSIC Series Continues in Berlin

So it seems London wasn’t the final public screening of PRISMATIC MUSIC, as headlined in the last blog. On May 7, 2017, a very special program is planned for the Light Movement series at Spektrum in Berlin. 

 

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James Edmonds, the series director, asked if I could include some films that hadn’t appeared on Vimeo. Inspired by the idea, I decided this show would only have work that wasn’t available on that site. Additionally, half the titles on the program have never been publicly screened until now. 

I’m told the audiences at Spektrum are, “… very open and respecting of visual, experimental film.” This sounds like an eventful union! 

Here’s a link to Light Movement’s site and the evening’s program.

 

 

Posting #17

Posted on March 03, 2017

PRISMATIC MUSIC series of screenings closes in London

The final program of PRISMATIC MUSIC is scheduled for March 30, 2017 at CLOSE UP FILM CENTRE in London, England. This show is under the auspices of Brand New Blinkers; co-founded by Jack Wormell and Andy Sowerby. 

 

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Over the past two years, these solo screenings have generated a positive response to the small, silent works in this Blu-ray collection. The scheduling and presentations have been uniquely curated for each venue with running times ranging between 70-90 minutes.

I’m grateful to the programmers in England, Spain and numerous American cities who’ve made these screenings possible, and of course to Jeffery Plansker, who brought this project into existence.

 

Posting #16

Posted on October 03, 2016

PRISMATIC MUSIC IN SPAIN!

Following recent group shows in London, England and Curitiba, Brazil, I'd like to share news of my third show in Spain -- a solo in the city of Santander at the Filmoteca De Cantabria. Below is their beautiful theatre. Additional information can be found on the blogs: Cineinfinito #4 and Experimental Cinema. My thanks to both Felix Garcia and Marcos Ortega for their inspired dedication to film and ongoing support of my work.

 

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Posting #15

Posted on September 01, 2016

This interview was conducted by Brittany Danielle Friesner on 3/11/16 at Indiana University Cinema in Bloomington, Indiana.

Click here for video interview

 

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Published on August 30, 2016 by IU Cinema, this YouTube video interview was filmed in March 2016. Bernard's visit also included several other events and a public interview for the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series. For more information about IU Cinema:  http://www.cinema.indiana.edu/ 

 

Posting #14

Posted on June 18, 2016

WFIU Public Radio Interview on "Profiles" with Yael Ksander at Indiana University, 3/11/16

 

Filmmakers Tony Buba and Joseph Bernard

 

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Photo: Adam Schwartz/WFIU

Tony Buba (left) and Joseph Bernard

Josh Brewer hosts an interview with documentary filmmaker Tony Buba, and Yaël Ksander speaks with mixed-media artist Joseph Bernard. To hear both 30 minute interviews click hereYaël's interview with Joseph Bernard airs first.

Tony Buba has been producing documentary films since 1972. Many of his films concern issues in his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. These include Voices from a Steeltown, a series of vignettes of signs of life in the dying mill town, and his first feature-length documentary, Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy, an “exploded documentary.” His 1994 fictional feature film, No Pets, explored the psychological realities of postindustrial working-class life.

Joseph Bernard is a painter, filmmaker, and mixed-media artist. A former student of experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, Bernard’s films are kaleidoscopic abstractions of light and texture. His collage paintings utilize acrylic paint and inks on wood panels, layered with found objects such as hair, seaweed, feathers, onion skin, and crushed cans. Bernard has taught fine arts at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.

  

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Posting #13

Posted on May 07, 2016

Third Man Records, here in Detroit, hosted a second screening of PRISMATIC MUSIC.

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Following the films on April 28, 2016, Greg Baise and I provided a Q&A, along with the audience.

 

Posting #12

Posted on April 24, 2016

 Light and Sound Machine: JOSEPH BERNARD: PRISMATIC MUSIC

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Presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre 

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - Films at 8:00pm sharp (Doors at 7:00pm) - Tickets: $10

 

Third Man Records  |  Cass Corridor  |  441 W. Canfield, Detroit 

View Trailer (from Nashville show)

 

Posting #11

Posted on April 02, 2016

 

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Light and Sound Machine: JOSEPH BERNARD: PRISMATIC MUSIC

Presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre - Nashville

Tue, Apr 19 at 8:00pm (Doors at 7:00pm)

Location: The Blue Room at Third Man Records, 623 7th Ave South | Click here to see map
Tickets: $10 / $8 Belcourt Members | Click here to BUY TICKETS
 

Filmmaker Joseph Bernard will present his films in person, followed by a Q&A.

Joseph Bernard, a painter, mixed-media artist and former student of Stan Brakhage, made over 100 works on 8mm film over the course of just one decade (1975-85). Punctuated by an ever-shifting conceptual framework and Bernard's nomadic state of being, the films are kaleidoscopic abstractions of light and texture, as well as personal expressions and a mode of self-inquiry. They dually create an ethereal space while invoking the specific locale of their creation (Detroit, Chicago, New York, and the salty oceanfront of Provincetown, MA). In 1985, Bernard withdrew from filmmaking completely, frustrated by the cost of materials. As Phil Coldiron notes in a recent Cinema Scope feature on Bernard, "American experimental cinema is considerably poorer for both the brevity and obscurity of his career.”

Now, after three decades of purgatory, Bernard's films have been resurrected and are enjoying a second life. The original 8mm masters have been digitally scanned and restored, and are receiving overdue praise and exhibition across the country. Forty of them have been assembled in a stunning Blu-ray retrospective, titled PRISMATIC MUSIC. Bernard has selected several of his works to be exhibited in two thematically distinct programs for Third Man Record's Nashville and Detroit locations. The screenings each offer a unique lineup, prefaced by an introduction from Bernard himself.   - - James Cathcart                            View Trailer: (Joseph Bernard - PRISMATIC MUSIC on YouTube, made by Third Man Records)

 

Three Portraits:   

ANOTHER MIRROR (1977, 5:15 min.)

J.S.B. AT 9 (1978, 2:31 min.)

CREMATORIUM: A COLLABORATIVE SELF-PORTRAIT (1979, 8:17 min.)

Life, Love, Sex & Death:

IMPLICATIONS OF A TOTALITY (1979, 15:03 min.)

Inside the Idea of Film:

RITUAL (1979, 2:42 min.)

SPLICES FOR SHARITS (1980, 5:27 min.)

THE FUNCTION OF FILM (1982, 7:58 min.)

Extended Possibilities:

NIGHT MIX (1982, 10:52 min.)

FILM FOR UNTITLED VIEWER (1983, 2:36 min.)

VARIANT CHANTS (1983, 15:51 min.)

 

Posting #10

Posted on March 26, 2016

A visit to Indiana University Cinema  3/11/16

The following images and text are sparingly meager memories of an extraordinary day spent at Bloomington's Indiana University Cinema. The personnel, film collection and facilities there are renown as world-class with absolute justification. I was thrilled to have joined the ranks of Jorgensen Guest Filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Bill Morrison, Kenneth Anger, Albert Maysles, Walter Salles, even Jonathan Banks, Paul Schrader and John Sayles to name a few. IU Cinema, under it's founding director, Jon Vickers, has a tag line; "... A PLACE FOR FILM", and it most certainly is!

 

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The following remarks were delivered by James R. Hook, Ph.D candidate, associate instructor and member of the Media School's Underground Film Series. His introduction provided historic and aesthetic background which, after the screening of NIGHT MIX, led into our on-stage conversation under the banner of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. I'm honored by his scholarly insight, generous observations and stimulating questions. Our discussion eventually segued into a wonderfully rewarding exchange with the audience. This was just a perfect priming for that evening's following, full program of twelve films.

 

INTRODUCTION

Since the 1970s, multimedia artist Joseph Bernard has created over 100 silent Super 8 films that work to radically expand our understanding of cinema as an expressive form. His work offers a rich contribution to traditions of formalist and experimental filmmaking and has often been discussed in terms of—but remains steadfastly irreducible to—qualities of rhythm and color as well as the influences of abstract expressionism, photography, documentary, self-portraiture, and collage.

Mr. Bernard earned his BFA in Painting from Hartford Art School in 1970, graduating Summa Cum Laude, followed by his MFA in 1972 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied with the legendary experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. As a teacher himself, Mr. Bernard has taught art courses for over thirty-five years at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, where he received the title of Professor Emeritus in 2007. 

While preparing for today’s conversation, Mr. Bernard shared with me that he believes he has learned as much from musicians and poets about filmmaking as he has from other filmmakers. This is readily apparent when watching Mr. Bernard’s films themselves. These aesthetically ravishing and densely layered works are a far cry from a cinema constituted through narrative, character, setting, and traditional representational symbolism; rather, his is a cinema of rhythmic structures and metrical patterns, visual dynamics and textures. In short, Mr. Bernard’s work embodies a nearly unyielding awareness of the total expressive range and vocabulary of what we call the cinematic. His films reactivate formal and affective possibilities that were widely forsaken mere decades after the birth of cinema in the late-1800s. This was a moment when, as film historian and theorist Tom Gunning has famously explained, early modernists (such as the original Dadaists and Surrealists) saw their at-first unbridled enthusiasm for the potential of cinema as a new communicative technology quickly turn to disappointment at its all but instantaneous “enslavement to traditional art forms, particularly theater and literature.” 

Mr. Bernard’s films are routinely classified as silent—and, indeed they are, in the sense that they contain no literal sound track and are to be presented without live musical accompaniment. Still, as composer and music theorist John Cage—who Bernard has cited as one of many artists to whom he has paid homage—has written, “There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” In terms of their affective impact, Mr. Bernard’s films are anything but silent. This is art in which there will always be new things to see and “hear” with every repeated viewing. One could make the argument that Mr. Bernard’s films are dialectical insofar as they frequently bring together opposing elements and resolve their tension in such a way that something new and novel is created. Thus, his films can feel frenetic and meditative; abstract and concrete; tactile and ephemeral; quasi-scientific and quasi-spiritual; faintly remote and warmly intimate…often all at the same time.

And finally, like the most provocative and rewarding works of that vexed category we call experimental art, Mr. Bernard’s films consciously and consistently show us how what an eye conditioned only by Hollywood-style bombast might deem as “less,” is in fact a vital precondition for allowing us to truly feel and see something more. Before inviting Mr. Bernard to join us on stage, we will now screen his film Night Mix from 1982, which runs just under 11 minutes. 

 

 

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I'm grateful for the photography supplied by Chaz Mottinger and MariaLuisa Belmonte. Also, special thanks to Brittany Friesner and Jamie Hook for making my visit so memerable.

 

 

 

Posting #9

Posted on February 27, 2016

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Visual artist Joseph Bernard was born in Port Chester, N.Y., later educated at Hartford Art School and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. For 35 years, Professor Emeritus Bernard taught fine arts at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Abstract “collage” sensibilities are evident in his paintings, films, and photographs. Contemporary poetry and music remain as influences. His work is informed by travels to Provincetown, Southern California, Austin, and other locales. His films have been exhibited at Toronto’s Funnel Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Chicago Filmmakers, San Francisco Cinematheque, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. This series is sponsored by The Media School, Underground Film Series, and IU Cinema.

Posting #8

Posted on February 24, 2016

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Posting #7

Posted on November 21, 2015

Printed materials publicizing the 2015 screenings of PRISMATIC MUSIC following its premier at the College for Creative Studies, Detroit

 

Behind each public screening there are individuals who have made these events possible. A list of those who curated and hosted recent programs of my films would include Ben Gaydos (Professor UM-Flint and co-founder w/ Julia Yezbick of Mothlight Microcinema), Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus, Jodie Mack (Professor & Founder of EYEWASH at Dartmouth College), Monica Saviron, and Dr. Joshua Yumibe (Professor & Director of Film Studies at MSU). Each of these benefactors are artists themselves; that is, filmmakers, writers, musicians, painters, distinguished scholars. I'm extremely grateful for their advocacy and support. 

Upcoming - - An interview and a 90 minute/ 12-film program screening: PRISMATIC MUSIC at Indiana University Cinema (Underground Series) March 11, 2016.

 

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Posting #6

Posted on May 14, 2015

PRISMATIC MUSIC: THE SUPER 8 FILMS OF JOSEPH BERNARD, the 40-film Blu-ray set, is now available in the United States through Amazon and outside of the United States through eBay.

 

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All technical and historic information about the disc & booklet is already on the previous posting (#5) - - so here I’d like to thank everyone at CCS for the euphoric celebration and premiere of my films’ digital reincarnation. 

That gathering of friends, former students and colleagues was enormously gratifying. The events over those two evenings, beginning with Jeff Plansker’s live jazz & cocktails party at the Scarab Club benefiting the CCS Galleries, then the next night’s beautifully projected program of films, followed by a perfect dinner at Selden Standard graciously hosted by Michelle Perron and Rick Rogers, attended by a full complement of friends. Not a moment could have been improved upon!

Another pleasurable occurrence, an old friend, Bill Gubbins drove up from Nashville to see the films and be part of the festivities. We hadn’t seen each other for 33 years. Bill is an exceptional, idiosyncratic photographer and noted publishing editor on the contemporary music scene, among his other exploratory activities. He appears in two of my better films (one of them is dedicated to him), and I appear in several of his photographs. All this happened back in the early 1980‘s. Two of the above portraits (JB & camera, 1982) are his. To be fair to him, both images have been cropped and manipulated far from the originals for publication purposes. 

While recently in Nashville, we were introduced by Bill to some of his acquaintances at Jack White’s Third Man Records, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, area galleries and a few fine restaurants. Our road trip continued on to Columbus where, through the help of Caroline Koebel, we met with faculty and curatorial staff of the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University. We talked broadly about independent film, its history and practitioners, the release of PRISMATIC MUSIC and academic venues that might provide programming possibilities.

Now that the digital version of the films has a public ‘storefront’ through Amazon and eBay, the mission will be to find audiences interested in something so singular as non-narrative, silent Super 8 films made almost 40 years ago with an obsessive commitment to light, color and movement.

 

 

Posting #5

Posted on March 15, 2015

After close to three years of collective efforts, I’m proud to announce the impending completion and release of the remarkable, Blu-ray collection; PRISMATIC MUSIC: The Super 8 Films of Joseph Bernard

 

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This 40-film package, with a total running time of 5 hrs. 47 mins., includes a 24-page booklet with essays, film notes, historic documentation and images in color. The set itself is part of a series called, Beneath Detroit, a project by Jeffery Plansker, celebrating under-recognized area artists.

These films date back from the mid 1970’s to mid 80’s and all of them are purely visual and intentionally silent. There’ve been occasional screenings of selected titles, most recently at the 2014 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Over 100 works were originally produced and although prints were made in both S-8 & 16mm, none were either in distribution or had been sold. Owning this collection will soon be possible. After the April 15th Premiere Screening & Release Event at the College for Creative Studies, in Detroit, the specifics for purchase will be available on this site.

About the set - - this particular digital 2K version will make the viewing of these films much more accessible in that the Blu-ray Disc (1920x1080p), dual-layer format is “Region/Code-Free”; playable throughout the world. It breathes new life into these small gauge, highly hand-crafted entities. The enclosed booklet’s essays are written by L.A. and NYC filmmakers, a director, a cinematographer and an architect. They provide valuable insight and access to the work. The menu treatment and overall packaging design has been fastidiously fine-tuned. 

Paramount to all of this, of course, is preservation. When film sits on a shelf in unstable conditions, the fragile combination of plastic, chemical emulsion and adhesive splices, (along with added elements of inks, bleach & tape) - - all rolled somewhat tightly against itself on spools - - risks deterioration. Extremes in temperature and humidity rapidly affect film’s properties. Two offers came to the rescue.

A few years ago Jeff Plansker proposed putting a group of my films onto a DVD set, along with a booklet of informational notes about them. Working with limitations in mind, the choosing of which titles would be saved was difficult. Each one was looked at numerous times on a hand-cranked viewer (my projector had been stolen), selections were made, every splice was tested, leaders & trailers replaced, relabeled, then all were cleaned and rejoined onto nineteen 400’ reels & cases. That original footage flew with me to Los Angeles where, at the Cinelicious (Hollywood) lab, all was digitally scanned, color graded shot-by-shot, then electronically filed. 

During the week overseeing this process, the lab’s owner called in Mark Toscano, the Film Preservationist/ archivist/ curator for the Academy Film Archive (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Mark looked at the films and made an offer to allow the totality of my work be perpetually preserved in the climate controlled vaults at the Academy. My original film & prints, while now in ideal safekeeping, are also available for scholarly study. 

With the release of PRISMATIC MUSIC, my old & fragile footage can now be viewed easily, repeatedly and in high definition, well into the future. The next plan is to explore venues to exhibit and distribute the films widely.

 

 

Posting #4

Posted on February 10, 2015

A group of paired (but otherwise unrelated) drawings from several of my sketchbooks in the 1970’s have been added to the ‘Mixed Images’ category.

 

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These diary-like, 11” x 14” mixed media images, presented somewhat randomly, in non-chronological order are evidence of both a compulsive need to record interior & exterior stimuli and the personal credo that ‘drawing is the making of marks’. 

When marks are set down in imitation of something else, or when one unthinkingly drags muddy boots across a floor or even breathes hoarfrost patterns onto a winter window pane, drawings have been made. The signing of a check, the track of a surgeon’s scalpel, the vapor trail of an overhead jet, the pattern of prints through snow are all examples of (perhaps unconscious) mark making that should broadly be regarded as drawing.

Obviously, arranging cut pieces of paper (or any material) onto another surface of paper (or on any surface), is collage or assemblage — but in fact it’s still a variant of drawing. The origin of “photo+graphy” is to write with light. So then, the making of marks, with anything on anything, intentionally or unintentionally, provides an encompassing definition of drawing.

 

Posting #3

Posted on December 21, 2014

Posting #3 brings more additions to the earliest set of 'Paintings', related studio history and a new ‘Mixed Images' category of eclectic items.

 

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As additional mid-to-late 80’s images were being put on the site, I thought back to the different locations this work originated in (the various studios); as well as what was being read, what music was listened to, related work involvements. How the paintings were constructed on floors & tables - -  shapes, sizes, colors, materials, even who the student studio assistants may have been (they changed each semester) and where specific pieces were done. 

Up until a given point, I had always worked where I lived. Beyond a pantry or bedroom darkroom, the collage painting, as activity, found separation in an attic or basement, a spare bedroom or in a functioning garage, dining or living room. An away-from-home studio, (real luxury), came late in life. A 300 sq. ft. below ground, storage room in an office complex was my first and was quite perfect, until the rent was raised prohibitively. The real deal came next. 

For two years, beginning April 1989, I rented a large, ground floor studio in a raw, brick commercial building at 11627 Klinger Street, Hamtramck, MI. The building, constructed as a brewery in the 1920’s, was converted to a steel shop during the second world war. That business eventually closed and the property was bought by a young man with a degree in philosophy who began to rent spaces to painters and rock musicians. 

My bigger studio allowed several paintings to be worked on simultaneously, in addition to crate-building and documentation photography. When told the landlord intended to sell, I bought the 6000 sq. ft. building on land contract in 1991 and made serious renovations throughout. For two decades, I maintained the building & grounds, rented studios to artists and did my own painting while employed as a full-time professor at the College for Creative Studies. Following divorce, the studio became my home and sanctuary. It also functioned as a gallery-like setting for many art tours and discussion groups. The piece of life I spent there truly came to represent a prodigious amount of work under the roles of painter, photographer, teacher, mentor and custodian of a property.

After those many years and following retirement, I found myself wanting to take leave of land-lording responsibilities and relocate all my accumulated work from Hamtramck to the home we found in Troy. MariaLuisa designed storage areas and engineered shelving racks to safely contain all of our paintings. Just prior to that, in September 2012, I found the ideal owner for the building - - it was bought by another young man degreed in philosophy, an artist who also wanted to rent studios to other artists. Serendipitously, full circle! 

The new ‘Mixed’ category on the site has the beginnings of very early photos (my high school motorcycle, a BSA 650), selected drawings, installation views and various oddities (see above ‘very early photos’). 

My current activities are pretty far removed from conventional art making, but they’re as deliberate. Those sensitivities honed are now applied elsewhere. 

 

Posting #2

Posted on October 19, 2014

 

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Faster than a glacial bullet... I now offer up blog posting #2. Intentions were never to have this be a frequent sharing of personal minutiae, but rather occasional entries of notable additions. There are three such updates. Slowly, I’ve been including small groups of early paintings - - decades-old, 35mm slides scanned on a borrowed, portable device of less than premium quality. These images serve historic purposes only, giving a sense of how things evolved. 

Under Photography, a sub-category has been added following a recent trip to Cleveland to see five films by Agnes Varda and a catalogued installation of manipulated photographs by HEINECKEN, POLKE, AND FELDMANN. I was equally impressed with the Museum’s architecture, grounds and permanent collection. 

The most exciting entry is my show, Melons Galore!, on Jeffery Plansker’s PocketRadio, a long-running series of one-hour music programs, often recorded live in his Pasadena studio. These eclectic mixes, available for download on his site jefferyplansker.com are labors of love by Jeff and those invited. Even with all the variables built-in, there’s a personal constant to these shows that goes well beyond what conventional broadcast music radio seems capable of delivering. There’s truly so much more out there than what’s on the dial. Partake! 

 

 

 

Posting #1; An Introduction

Posted on July 07, 2014

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This initial blog post is to welcome you to my website and to relay the purpose behind it. 

[To sift remnants of a life... to gather ‘driftings’ and make them stable, clear.]

 

The idea of designing a repository of personal images appealed to me. I had produced a good number of pictures and objects throughout my life, many of them with no documentation; some lost through unrecorded donations, sales and gifts or destroyed either by my hand (to ease in relocating) or by basement studio flooding.    

Then too, for years I produced paintings and bodyprints directly on sheet glass. They were heavy, fragile, highly impractical to ship. Lots of them were fatally damaged along the way. I’ve not been a diligent caretaker of past efforts, but then this “archive” may provide witness to that porous history.

Unfortunately, there are bodies of work that can’t be included because they were never documented or retained; (small sculpture, early paintings, all darkroom work, most graphic prints and drawings), or only sparsely so, like the paintings on glass and bodyprints. Some drawings and works on glass will be added eventually, if possible.

This is the beginning of a large project. So many more old 35mm slides have been scanned, which then have to be digitally formatted, categorized, resized and labeled. So much other work has yet to be photographed. The ongoing documentation process, and all that lies ahead, is quite daunting. Now, as archivist, I’m obliged to attempt cataloging the impossible, or at least make gestures in that direction. At present, that’s the plan.  

The following remnants are evidence of activities that, in fact, provided me an identity.

Paintings - But for a few early examples, these are all acrylic on wood (OSB) panel constructed to float 3/4” from the wall. Most have collage elements included. I hand-built the panels and the backs were treated to the same layers of paint and topcoat as the facing surfaces. This format and practice began when I was an undergraduate and continued until 2010, at which point I quit all painting and gallery involvements. (Note: Apologies for the quality level of early work reproductions; they obviously predate digital clarity.)  

Films - Dating from 1976-1985, these were all Super 8, silent, usually with a great deal of editing. They still occasionally get screenings, the most recent was a program in this year’s 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Also this year, 40 of them were accepted into The Academy Film Archive in Hollywood, California for safekeeping and study. In the near future, this very same group of films will be released in a DVD format boxed set titled, Prismatic Music  The Super 8 Films of Joseph Bernard.  

Film Stills - Like selected words pulled from a poem, these single frames offer no (or very little) sense of the whole, yet may resonate with a projected 24th of a second DNA from that entity. Passing quickly from one to another, somewhat like flipping through random slides on a carousal projector, (which, of course, no one does anymore), these images become ‘un-possessed’; they provide a revised context, an incongruity in search of meaning, not unlike the thought process itself. This may have some indicators of my past filmmaking practices. 

Photographs - Another personal pursuit that began long ago and went through several permutations; prints, slides, sandwiched slides, photographic decals and collages. I now  continue to photograph only digitally. Unencumbered by justification, a few subcategories are included on the site and are broadly labeled by location only, without titles, sizes or dates.

I think art comes from the same place as any real discoveries; informed intuition,  without conscious introspection - - at least during the making. Now, much after the fact, this retrospective view allows for a clearer assessment of overlapping activities and their commingled relationships. It can bring order to what’s been achieved, also suggesting where it may lead. After decades of studio solitude, a public unveiling certainly has its anxieties. But then any self-portrait, any personal overview, any regathering of both additions and deletions inevitably gives shape to one’s life map, as it should. I intend to keep changing this website and, as it evolves, certainly welcome your feedback. 

 

Comments or questions:   joseph-bernard@sbcglobal.net