Early Monthly Segments is an avant-garde film screening series held at the Gladstone Hotel‘s Art Bar once monthly, and this March 16th marks their one-year anniversary. In celebration, they’re showing films by American experimental filmmaker Robert Beavers, from whose work the screening series takes its name. Screening experimental films in a salon-like setting is definitely a refreshing alternative to the darkness and solemnity of the dark movie theatre, and lively discussions usually follow the films (snacks and drinks are available to order from the Art Bar’s kitchen). Perhaps most significantly, Beavers famously restricted exhibition of his work, and even pulled some prints of his films into seclusion with him in Europe, so this is a rare opportunity to see his work, and in an atmosphere of total art-nerds (that’s a compliment, you guys).
A little bit of history: Beavers was at his most prolific in the sixties and seventies, when American experimental film and video were exploding in quantity and content. His output declined in the latter decades of the 20th century, but a number of his films have been restored and a few have even been reassembled (notably, Beavers himself has re-edited some of his films to create the larger film cycle “My Hand Outstretched to the Winged Distance and Sightless Measure.”) His films are a meticulously crafted meditation on the medium’s materiality and, as such, they celebrate light, shadow, and movement in all their infinite complexity. Both brain and eye could get totally and deliciously lost in these films.
Beavers and his partner, fellow filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos, left America for Europe in the late sixties, and there they continued to screen their films in monthly and yearly segments. The March 16th screening will include the Canadian premiere of Beavers’ most recent film, Pitcher of Colored Light (2007); it always kills me to write ‘colored’ instead of ‘coloured’, but I’m staying faithful to the American artist’s intentions.
In 1998, Millenium Film Journal dedicated an issue to Beavers and Markopoulos; interviews with the artists and critical and historical essays are included, and these are a great way to be introduced to their work if you’re unfamiliar with it — click here for the link. Click here for event details and more information about the films being screened, and click here to read a lovely little essay about Beavers by Chrissie Iles in Artforum.