Molly Davies at Digital & Video Art Fair Paris 2006

ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts presented Molly Davies’s Autopsy and Dressing, at Digital & Video Art Fair 2006 Paris – A Tribute to Matthew Barney.

 

Polly Motley performed during the exhibition.

 

Autopsy

1998

Video/sound installation

12 minutes continuous loop

One channel of video projected on the wall, amplified mono sound, using one speaker on the floor.

Performance and concept by Polly Motley, Video manipulation by Molly Davies

DJ by Beth Coleman/ DJ Singe

 

DRESSING

1998

Video/sound installation

Performance by Polly Motley. Sound by Beth Coleman/ DJ Singe.

6 minutes continuous loop

Three channels of color video on 21” monitors on black table, three channels of amplified mono sound, using three speakers on the floor.

 

Molly Davies started making experimental films in the late 1960’s in New York City. For multi media performance pieces she has collaborated with artists including John Cage, David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Michael Nyman, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse and Anne Carson. Her work has been presented at such sites as the Venice Film Festival, the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée d’Art Contemporain Lyon, The Getty, Theatre Am Turm, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Arts Center, Asia Society, the Kitchen, La MaMa E.T.C., Dance Theatre Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Indonesian Dance Festival. Her video installation work is in the collections of the Getty Research Institute, the Musée Art Contemporain Lyon and the Walker Art Center.  Her major works include “David Tudor’s Ocean” a six-channel piece documenting performances by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and “Sea Tails” a three-channel, six monitor piece integrating film footage of Jackie Matisse’s underwater kites with a score by David Tudor.

 

Polly Motley is a choreographer, performer, collaborator and teacher with more than thirty years of extensive experience in dance, video and performance making. She trained from an early age in classical and contemporary dance forms—ballet, jazz, tap, modern and post-modern styles.  She began improvising and choreographing in 1974 while dancing with experimental dance/theater companies in Houston and Austin, Texas.  She joined the faculty of Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1982.  She worked with Barbara Dilley at  Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado where she studied dance ethnology, contemplative dance, and creative process.  She performed, choreographed, and was a faculty member for Naropa University until she moved from Colorado in 1996.  Her work at Naropa included  dance-theater/video interactions,  multi-media performance meditations (with New York film/installation artist, Molly Davies), and composed vocal/gestural improvisations.

Motley has collaborated with a roster of dance, music, visual and literary artists that includes Steve Paxton, Dana Reitz, Simone Forti, Charles Amirkhanian, Takehisa Kosugi, Fred Frith, Anne Carson, and Jack Collom.  She was the first choreographer from the United States for the Triangle Arts Program, an exchange between the United States, Japan and Indonesia.  Her most recent participation in that program included performing at the Asia Society in New York with Indonesian dance master, Mugiyono, and Japanese performer, Kota Yamazaki. 

Motley’s newest solo, Dancing the Numbers, was recently presented at the Danspace Project in New York to critical praise. Her work is supported by state and National Endowment for the Arts awards and choreography fellowships. It has been presented by the Jack Tilton Gallery, Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen,  Danspace Project , The Colorado Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Bates College Dance Festival, The New York Improvisation Festival, Movement Research at Judson Church, the Edge Festival San Francisco, Tulane University Art Gallery, MousonTurm (Frankfurt), and the Indonesian Dance Festival, Jakarta among other venues. 

Motley received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a thesis on the interactive relationships of video and performance.

Digital & Video Art Fair 2006 Paris

A Tribute to Matthew Barney

 

October 26 – 29, 2006

 

KUBE

1 – 5 Passage Ruelle

Adjacent à l’Avenue Marx Dormoy

75018 Paris, France

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Molly Davies at Digital & Video Art New York 2007

Molly Davies at DIVA NY

ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts presented Molly Davies’s two-channel video/sound installation, Bars, on view in Digital & Video Art The Streets’ shipping container located at 531 West 26th Street(between 10th and 11th Avenues) from February 17-24, 2007.  .


Bars is a six-minute continuous loop work which features images of caged Siberian tigers on two 8’ x 7’ screens, with sound by Charlemagne Palestine and Tuva throat singers. Digital & Video Art The Streets, produced by Frere Independent, is presented in conjunction with DiVA New York 2007, showcasing the most challenging and innovative work created in new media and video today.

 

 

About Molly Davies:
Molly Davies started making experimental films in the late 1960’s in New York City. For multi media performance pieces she has collaborated with artists including John Cage, David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Michael Nyman, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse and Anne Carson. Her work has been presented at such sites as the Venice Film Festival, the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée d’Art Contemporain Lyon, The Getty, Theatre Am Turm, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Arts Center, Asia Society, the Kitchen, La MaMa E.T.C., Dance Theatre Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Indonesian Dance Festival. Her video installation work is in the collections of the Getty Research Institute, the Musée Art Contemporain Lyon and the Walker Art Center.  Her major works include “David Tudor’s Ocean” a six-channel piece documenting performances by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and “Sea Tails” a three-channel, six monitor piece integrating film footage of Jackie Matisse’s underwater kites with a score by David Tudor.

Digital & Video Art The Streets

February 17 – 24, 2007

 

Container was located at 531 West 26th St (Between 10th and 11th Avenues).

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MOLLY DAVIES

Molly Davies has been working as a film and video artist for over 30 years.  For her multimedia performance pieces, she has collaborated with artists John Cage, David Tudor, Michael Nyman, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse and Anne Carson.  Her work has been presented at the Venice Film Festival, the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l‘Art Moderne de la Ville Paris, Musée Art Contemporain Lyon, The Getty, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, Asia Society, Theatre Am Turm, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, La MaMa Etc., Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Indonesian Dance Festival.  She teaches courses in design for inter-media performances at universities in the United States, Europe and Asia.

 

Asia Society and Museum,
New York, NY
TRADITIONS, INVENTIONS, AND EXCHANGEJune 28 through August 21, 2005
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SPACE, TIME AND ILLUSION-
ISSUES OF FILM WITH PERFORMANCE
May 11, 2005
Dance Theatre Workshop
New York, NY
SPACE, TIME AND ILLUSION-
ISSUES OF FILM WITH PERFORMANCE
April 18 & 19, 2005
Zone Chelsea,
New York, NY
DISTANCE BETWEEN GESTURE AND MEANINGSApril 5 through 15, 2005
Smith College, Department of Art
North Hampton, MA
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance
March 8, 2005
Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
SEA TAILSJuly 13 -September 26, 2004
Bates Museum of Art, Lower Gallery
at
Bates Dance Festival,
Lewiston, ME
TRADITIONS, INVENTIONS, AND EXCHANGEAugust 9 through 16, 2003
2002 Bienalle
Lyon France
Musee Art Contemporain Lyon
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMarch, 2002
Texas Gallery
Houston, TX
KAREN TAPESDecember, 2001
Block Gallery
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
PASTIMESeptember – December, 2001
Getty Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMay, 2001
Argentinian Embassy
New York City, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMarch, 2001
The New School for Social Research
New York City, NY
KAREN TAPESMarch 1st, 2001
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance / Video Installation
February – May, 2001
Mingei International Museum
San Diego, CA
SEA TAILSApril – November, 2000
Santa Cruz Museum of Art
and History
Santa Cruz, CA
MIGRATION
DISLOCATION
BRANCUSI’S BASKETS
July – November, 2000
The Kitchen
New York City, NY
MARGUERITE
Summer Residence with Polly Motley
June, 2000
Selby Gallery
Sarasota, Florida
“PLUGGED IN”
Installations of:
DRESSING
DISLOCATION
BRANCUSI’S BASKETS
March – April, 2000
Mousonturm
Frankfurt A/M, Germany
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/ Video
Installation
August 24,25, 1999
Flynn Theater
Stowe, Vermont
aJune – July, 1999
Jack Tilton Gallery
New York, NY
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/Video Installation
February 24, 1999
The Galleries at Moore
Philadelphia, PA
SEA TAILSJanuary 22-March 14, 1999
Jack Tilton Gallery
New York, NY
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/ Video
Installation
December 10, 1998
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
June 28- Sept 21, 1998
Deutschlandfunk
Redaktion E-Musik
Köln, Germany
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
March, 1998
The Kitchen
New York, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
Oct 30 – Nov 26, 1997
Dancespace
New York, NY
IN THE MANNER OF
EDWARD HOPPER
October, 1996
Judson Memorial Church
New York, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
September 17, 1996
Naropa Institute
Boulder, CO
BROWNIEFAXJanuary, 1996
Kitchen Center for Video and Music
New York, NY
YOU CAN SING ANY TIMEApril, 1995
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
YOU CAN SING ANY TIMEMarch, 1995
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Lee, MA
FOLK DANCE
YOU CAN SING ANYTIME
August, 1994
Movement Research
New York, NY
WAITINGDecember, 1993
Dance Theatre Workshop
New York, NY
FOLK DANCESeptember, 1993
Naropa Institute
Boulder, CO
SUPERFICIAL DISSOLVEMay, 1993
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
DE CHIRICO’S DAUGHTER
PART II
May, 1992
Naropa Institute
Boulder, Co
DE CHIRICO’S DAUGHTER
PART I
February, 1992
Justus Liebig University
Giessen, Germany
REICHE OHNE SINNE PROJECTJanuary – February, 1991
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
COLLABORATION WITH POLLY MOTLEYApril, 1991
Heiner Müller Project
Frankfurt, Germany
“BILDBESCHREIBUNG”April, 1990
La Mama E.T.C.
New York, NY
MANA GOES TO THE MOONJanuary 9-27, 1990
Theatre am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESApril 20 – 24, 1988
Tampere Theater Festival
Finland
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESAugust 15-16 1988
La Mama E.T.C.
New York, NY
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESMay 5-29, 1988
Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris
New York City, NY
SEA TAILSSeptember 17, 1986
The Albuerque Museum of Art, History and Science
Albuquerque, New Mexico
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
June 22, 1985
Theatre Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
ATEMJune 6, 1985
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
Comissionedwork from TAT
PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
PREPARING THE GROUND
May 24-26, 1985
Theater am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
Commissioned work from TAT
PREPARING THE GROUND
April 18-21, 1985
May 28-31, 1985
Wesleyan College
Middletown, CT
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS

&
PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
January 25-26, 1985
Collective for Living Cinema
New York, NY
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJanuary 12, 1985
Fine Arts Museum
Taipei, Taiwan
SEA TAILSAugust, 1984
Museum of Modern Art
Stockholm, Sweden
SEA TAILSAugust 21, 22, 24, 1984
Akademie der Kunste
Berlin, Germany
PARIS PIECEJune 22, 1984
Center Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
SEA TAILSJune 3-27, 1984
Saarbruken
Germany
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 4, 1984
Kammer Theater
Wurttembergische Staats-Theater
Stuttgart, Germany
THE PALM AT THE EDGE OF THE MIND
&
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
June 29, 1984
Akademie Der Kunst
Berlin, Germany
SEA TAILSFebruary 1 – 5 1984
Theatre Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
Retrospective:
THE PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
SAGE CYCLE
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
ATEM
SEA TAILS
October 27 – 31, 1983
The Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSMay 7 – 8, 1983
Kommonales Kino
Stuttgart, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
4-Feb-83
Arsenal
Berlin, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
November, 1982
Wurttembergische Staats-theater
Stuttgart, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECTOctober 31, 1982
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECTSeptember 19, 1982
Venice Film Festival
Venice, Italy
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSSeptember 3, 1982
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, California
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSAugust 21, 1982
Basel Art Fair (Stampa)
Basel, Switzerland
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 21, 1982
Amerika Haus
Munich, Germany
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 16, 1982
Centre Georges Pompidou
Pairs, France
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 10-11 1982
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
16-Feb-81
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
7-Feb-81
Kunsthaus
Zurich, Switzerland
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May, 1981
Kunstehalle
Basel, Switzerland
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May 20-21 1981
Akademie der Kunst
Berlin, Germany
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
May 12-14, 1981
Sprengel Museum
Hannover, Germany
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
May 9-10, 1981
Theater Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
April 25 – 28, 1981
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
April 22-23, 1981
The Mickery
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
April 7 – 11, 1981
April 14 – 18, 1981
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, Massachusetts
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
March 1st, 1981
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Montreal, Canada
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
27-Feb-81
Smithsonian Institution
Hirshorn Museum
Washington, D.C.
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
February 21 – 23, 1981
Stowe Center for the Performing Arts
Stowe, Vermont
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
February 24-25, 1981
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
16-Feb-81
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
7-Feb-81
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
October, 1980
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
August, 1980
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May and June, 1980
Rising Sun Video Center
Santa Fe, New Mexico
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1980
Musee d’Art de Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Paris, France
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
December, 1979
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
March, 1979
Department of Dance and Architecture
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
IDEA Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
University of California
San Diego, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
American Contemporary Dance Company/ Seattle Art Museum
Seattle, Washington
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Pittsburgh, PA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GLASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1978
Cunningham Studio, Westbeth
New York, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GLASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1978
San Francisco Museum of Art
San Francisco, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
April, 1978
Anthology Film Archives
NYC, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
February, 1978
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
January, 1978
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
August, 1977
THE KITCHEN
New York, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
&
ABOUT THE LILTING HOUSE
April, 1977
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
&
ABOUT THE LILTING HOUSE
March, 1977

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The Village Voice reviews ” Molly Davies”

The Village Voice

 

Molly Davies

By R.C. Baker

 

Since the ’60s, filmmaker Davies has been collaborating with such luminaries of sound and movement as John Cage and Merce Cunningham. As in the novels of Virginia Woolf, her multichannel videos coalesce a larger narrative from the closely examined particles of moments in time. Additionally, sculptures that enclose rings of fluorescent light within apple baskets and vegetable crates add earthy grit to these illuminating installations.

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The Villager interviews Molly Davies

The Villager logo

"Redefining the ordinary", January 18 -24, 2006, Vol. 75 No. 35

Molly Davies

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Film and video artist Molly Davies

 

The Villager

Redefining the ordinary

By Nicole Davis

 

At first glance, the group of crates, piled haphazardly in a corner of this Chelsea gallery, looks nothing like the rest of the work on view at Molly Davies’ first New York retrospective of her forty-year career. She is, after all, a film and video artist, so stumbling upon these Chinese produce crates, which house illuminated scenes from parks in Paris and Berlin, and emit, from some speaker somewhere, a chorus of tree frogs, seems like a curatorial mistake. In fact, the installation, titled “Dislocation,” may be the most symbolic of Davies’s signature style — changing the meaning of the most ordinary things through some savvy repackaging.

 

Five video installations over three decades show the many sides of this meditative video artist, who says she often films first, and decides on the structure later. One of the least visually arresting works in the show, “David Tudor’s Ocean,” has perhaps the best back-story. Its inspiration sprang from a conversation with Nam Jun Paik, commonly called the godfather of video art. He told Davies she should make a documentary of David Tudor, a friend and avant garde musician for whom John Cage created piano and electronic compositions.

 

“But I don’t do documentaries,” Davies explained.

 

“Just shoot his hands,” Paik told her.

So she did. She filmed hours and hours of footage of Tudor setting up and creating the music for a Merce Cunningham dance performance that Tudor, then the company’s music director, scored with a half-finished composition by Cage called “Ocean.”

 

“I shot it in 1984 — and as always, it took three years for me to figure out what to do with it,” says Davies. She ultimately decided to split the footage between the slow, methodical act of preparation and the seamless, seemingly effortless process of performance. Three of the six screens in the installation show Tudor setting up for the 90-minute show — one for each day of set up. Every so often one of these screens flashes, which signals where the film was cut. On the other three screens — one for each day of the performance — there are no edits, and hence no flashes, only a continuous loop of Tudor as he plays (or programs) the electronic music from the pit while the dancers move on stage.

 

“It’s a portrait of the working process through detail and accumulation,” says Davies, a statement that applies just as well to her collected body of video art. In “Sea Tails,” for instance, we see her collaborative style at work. “I almost always work with friends and family,” says Davies, who fortunately knows some very talented people. Filmed over a week in the Bahamas, it brings together the underwater kites created by friend and artist Jackie Matisse and the music of David Tudor, who stayed on board and recorded the marine sounds while Davies filmed the billowy, colorful movement underwater. There is a method at work in the finished product: At all times, a pair of screens — there are three pairs, or six screens, altogether — displays the kite’s movement in unison as three different speakers play a different Tudor composition simultaneously. That may be much to grasp on paper, but in person it gels beautifully as the kites flow like seaweed to the sound of the snaps and cracks beneath the aquamarine water.

 

This multi-layered approach is echoed in “Dressing,” where we see her partner of 16 years, dancer Polly Motley, performing the simple act we repeat each morning, on three different screens. “It’s basically just putting appendages through holes,” says Davies, but through her multi-monitor-lens, as we watch Motley slowly button her shirt and zip her slacks, this quotidian chore becomes sensual, even erotic.

 

Davies, who has lived in her loft at Broadway and Great Jones for the past 20 years, began making films in the late 60s to document her friends and family.

 

“I was hanging out with the great documentary makers” — the ones responsible for bringing cinéma vérité to the New World — “DA Pennebaker and Richard Leacock, and I was so struck by their ability to get those everyday moments.” She continued making films and teaching when she moved to St. Paul with then-husband, conductor Dennis Russell Davies. There, she met dancer Sage Cowles, and began what would become a ten-year collaboration on performance pieces that featured multiple screen projections of Cowles while she performed on stage. (Last spring, for Cowles’s 80th birthday, they reconstructed their seven-piece oeuvre at Dance Theater Workshop and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.) Davies says she ultimately embraced video installations because it freed her from the constraints of live performance. “I wanted the time to construct something in the way I wanted to construct it,” she says.

 

When Davies returned to New York in 1984, she also took time to raise her life’s other important work: her children, three from her marriage, along with two of Polly’s. It is one reason she did not stay in the forefront of video art like a contemporary of hers, Bill Viola, who is actually a few years her junior. “It’s a crucial time — between 40 and 50, if you’re not out there in New York, you kind of drift off the map. I’m probably better known with the dancers,” says Davies, who, despite her 62 years and two grandkids, sports a spiky haircut and stylish threads that make her one very hip grandmother, with plenty of fire left.

 

It shows in the other work on view, like “Desire,” in which a playful conversation among friends takes on sexual undertones, and in “Pastime,” a multi-layered work that turns a simple summer afternoon of play with mother and son into something downright Oedipal.

 

“I shot it because of the absolutely riveting beauty of the afternoon light,” she said, unaware of how provocative the scene was at first. But somewhere deep down she picks up on these intimate undercurrents that run through the most innocent of scenes.

 

“You don’t always see the significance of these moments initially. But then you go home, and go into the studio, and it reveals itself to you.”

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The New York Times selects “Molly Davies”

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Molly Davies The New York Times Ken Johnson
The New York Times
February 10, 2006

By Ken Johnson

Feb. 10, 2006

 

This expansive show features major works from three decades by a veteran
avant-gardist film and video maker. Ranging from near-abstraction to
dreamlike allegory, the video installations of Ms. Davies call to mind
artists as various as Gary Hill and Bill Viola. Some involve collaboration
with musicians and dancers, and the esteemed poet Anne Carson stars in a
sensuous and stately three-screen production from 2002 called “Desire.”

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The New York Times includes “Molly Davies” in The Week Ahead

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Molly Davies The New York Times Sulcas
The New York Times
January 22, 2006
The Week Ahead: Jan 22 - Jan 28

By Roslyn Sulcas

The film and video maker MOLLY DAVIES is one of a slowly fading breed of downtown artists who came of creative age in the graffiti-covered, unfashionable SoHo of the late 1960’s, and she has worked with the best of that generation. Ms. Davies has always been interested in dance, and her current exhibition features a fascinating six-screen piece, “DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN,” which documents three performances of the same work by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The focus is more on the composers – Mr. Tudor and Takehisa Kosugi – than the dancers, but it’s a compelling and extensive look at the fabric of an artwork. Also on show is the premiere of “Desire,” with text by the poet Anne Carson. Through Feb. 18, Zone: Chelsea Center for the Arts, 601 West 26th Street, (212) 255-2177.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/arts/the-week-ahead-jan-22-jan-28.html

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MOLLY DAVIES

Zone: Chelsea Center for the Arts is proud to present a retrospective of video installation works by artist Molly Davies.  A film and video artist, Davies started making experimental films in the late 1960s. She became well known in the 1970s for her innovative work with film and performance, collaborating with contemporary choreographers, performers and composers.  The exhibition will focus on Davies’ unique collaboration between mediums and will feature four major installation works spanning three decades. The exhibition will also include a screening booth with Davies’ documentary film performance pieces that were made for the theater.    

 

Her work explores movement of the performing body and film, distilling the everyday to suggest undercurrents of desire, isolation and joy.  Juxtaposing images to create layers of meaning, her work immerses the viewer into striking, poetic worlds, using multiple projections, screens and monitors to enhance the reflexive, abstract themes within the visual/sound compositions. Noted for her richly textured work, Davies brings the complex, subtle rhythms of movement and time altering medium of video into compelling spatial arrangements to provide multiple perspectives on the nuances of the everyday.  

 

The exhibition includes DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN (1994), a six-channel piece, documenting three performances of the first tour of Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s acclaimed work Ocean, with composer David Tudor and Takehisa Kosugi performing live.  This video/sound installation presents a portrait of David Tudor, detailing process and accumulation.  It is a meditation on the elaborate tableau of electronic music making in relation to the parallel dance making of Merce Cunningham.  The installation takes an imaginative behind-the-scenes look at set-up, rehearsal and live performance.  This work is in the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center, The Getty Research Institute and Musée Art Contemporain Lyon.  (92 minutes continuous loop)

 

Also to be shown will be SEA TAILS (1983), a three-channel, six monitor piece, that integrates an evocative electronic score by David Tudor with film footage of French artist Jackie Matisse’s extraordinary underwater kites.  This mesmerizing work presents the sculptural patterns of Ms. Matisse’s kites as they float, swirl, and shift gracefully and randomly through the oceans’ current, suspending time and space.  Originally presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this piece is in the permanent collection at The Getty Research Institute.  (22 minutes continuous loop)

 

The exhibit will include the premiere of Davies’ work DESIRE(2002), a three-channel, three- screen installation with text by renowned poet Anne Carson.  A quiet drama that centers on a day in the life among three friends, DESIRE is imbued with emotional temporal states juxtaposed with a vibrant colorful landscape. The installation uses color video projected side by side on the wall and three-channels of amplified mono sound. (12 minutes continuous loop)             

 

In PASTIME(1995), a provocative slide/video/sound installation built of layers with three projection surfaces and a sound collage, Davies addresses the beauty and poignancy of the quotidian. The installation, like its subject matter, deals with reflection, light, fragments and distortion as the slides and videos constantly dissolve.  A woman and a boy wrestle on a raft, playing “king of the mountain”. With gestures that suggest love, conflict, power and eroticism, the work reveals the fragility of the moment, of a certain time in a relationship, of a mid-summer day, and the innocence of coming of age.  (12 minutes continuous loop)

 

The exhibition will include several documentations of film and performances pieces created by Davies from 1976-2005.  Among the documented works are Arrivals & Departures(1988); deChirico’s Daughter (1992); Palm at the End of the Mind(1983); Sage Cycle, including Sage Time and Again, Grasslands and Sageand Third Thought(originally created 1976-79, reconstructed in 2005); and Small Circles Great Plains(originally created 1976-79, reconstructed in 2005).

 

Molly Davies has been working as a film and video artist for over 30 years.  For her multimedia performance pieces, she has collaborated with artists John Cage, David Tudor, Michael Nyman, Takehisa Kosugi, Lou Harrison, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Suzushi Hanayagi, Sage Cowles, Polly Motley, Jackie Matisse and Anne Carson.  Her work has been presented at the Venice Film Festival, the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l‘Art Moderne de la Ville Paris, Musée Art Contemporain Lyon, The Getty, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, Asia Society, Theatre Am Turm, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, La MaMa Etc., Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Indonesian Dance Festival.  She teaches courses in design for inter-media performances at universities in the United States, Europe and Asia.

 

January 12 – March 11, 2006

Opening reception:

Thursday January 12th, 2006

6-8pm

 

 

 

Reviews

 

Asia Society and Museum,
New York, NY
TRADITIONS, INVENTIONS, AND EXCHANGEJune 28 through August 21, 2005
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SPACE, TIME AND ILLUSION-
ISSUES OF FILM WITH PERFORMANCE
May 11, 2005
Dance Theatre Workshop
New York, NY
SPACE, TIME AND ILLUSION-
ISSUES OF FILM WITH PERFORMANCE
April 18 & 19, 2005
Zone Chelsea,
New York, NY
DISTANCE BETWEEN GESTURE AND MEANINGSApril 5 through 15, 2005
Smith College, Department of Art
North Hampton, MA
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance
March 8, 2005
Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
SEA TAILSJuly 13 -September 26, 2004
Bates Museum of Art, Lower Gallery
at
Bates Dance Festival,
Lewiston, ME
TRADITIONS, INVENTIONS, AND EXCHANGEAugust 9 through 16, 2003
2002 Bienalle
Lyon France
Musee Art Contemporain Lyon
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMarch, 2002
Texas Gallery
Houston, TX
KAREN TAPESDecember, 2001
Block Gallery
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
PASTIMESeptember – December, 2001
Getty Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMay, 2001
Argentinian Embassy
New York City, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEANMarch, 2001
The New School for Social Research
New York City, NY
KAREN TAPESMarch 1st, 2001
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance / Video Installation
February – May, 2001
Mingei International Museum
San Diego, CA
SEA TAILSApril – November, 2000
Santa Cruz Museum of Art
and History
Santa Cruz, CA
MIGRATION
DISLOCATION
BRANCUSI’S BASKETS
July – November, 2000
The Kitchen
New York City, NY
MARGUERITE
Summer Residence with Polly Motley
June, 2000
Selby Gallery
Sarasota, Florida
“PLUGGED IN”
Installations of:
DRESSING
DISLOCATION
BRANCUSI’S BASKETS
March – April, 2000
Mousonturm
Frankfurt A/M, Germany
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/ Video
Installation
August 24,25, 1999
Flynn Theater
Stowe, Vermont
aJune – July, 1999
Jack Tilton Gallery
New York, NY
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/Video Installation
February 24, 1999
The Galleries at Moore
Philadelphia, PA
SEA TAILSJanuary 22-March 14, 1999
Jack Tilton Gallery
New York, NY
DRAWING FROM THE BODY
Performance/ Video
Installation
December 10, 1998
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
June 28- Sept 21, 1998
Deutschlandfunk
Redaktion E-Musik
Köln, Germany
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
March, 1998
The Kitchen
New York, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
Oct 30 – Nov 26, 1997
Dancespace
New York, NY
IN THE MANNER OF
EDWARD HOPPER
October, 1996
Judson Memorial Church
New York, NY
DAVID TUDOR’S OCEAN
Video Installation
September 17, 1996
Naropa Institute
Boulder, CO
BROWNIEFAXJanuary, 1996
Kitchen Center for Video and Music
New York, NY
YOU CAN SING ANY TIMEApril, 1995
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
YOU CAN SING ANY TIMEMarch, 1995
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Lee, MA
FOLK DANCE
YOU CAN SING ANYTIME
August, 1994
Movement Research
New York, NY
WAITINGDecember, 1993
Dance Theatre Workshop
New York, NY
FOLK DANCESeptember, 1993
Naropa Institute
Boulder, CO
SUPERFICIAL DISSOLVEMay, 1993
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
DE CHIRICO’S DAUGHTER
PART II
May, 1992
Naropa Institute
Boulder, Co
DE CHIRICO’S DAUGHTER
PART I
February, 1992
Justus Liebig University
Giessen, Germany
REICHE OHNE SINNE PROJECTJanuary – February, 1991
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO
COLLABORATION WITH POLLY MOTLEYApril, 1991
Heiner Müller Project
Frankfurt, Germany
“BILDBESCHREIBUNG”April, 1990
La Mama E.T.C.
New York, NY
MANA GOES TO THE MOONJanuary 9-27, 1990
Theatre am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESApril 20 – 24, 1988
Tampere Theater Festival
Finland
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESAugust 15-16 1988
La Mama E.T.C.
New York, NY
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURESMay 5-29, 1988
Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris
New York City, NY
SEA TAILSSeptember 17, 1986
The Albuerque Museum of Art, History and Science
Albuquerque, New Mexico
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
June 22, 1985
Theatre Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
ATEMJune 6, 1985
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
Comissionedwork from TAT
PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
PREPARING THE GROUND
May 24-26, 1985
Theater am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
Commissioned work from TAT
PREPARING THE GROUND
April 18-21, 1985
May 28-31, 1985
Wesleyan College
Middletown, CT
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS

&
PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
January 25-26, 1985
Collective for Living Cinema
New York, NY
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJanuary 12, 1985
Fine Arts Museum
Taipei, Taiwan
SEA TAILSAugust, 1984
Museum of Modern Art
Stockholm, Sweden
SEA TAILSAugust 21, 22, 24, 1984
Akademie der Kunste
Berlin, Germany
PARIS PIECEJune 22, 1984
Center Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
SEA TAILSJune 3-27, 1984
Saarbruken
Germany
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 4, 1984
Kammer Theater
Wurttembergische Staats-Theater
Stuttgart, Germany
THE PALM AT THE EDGE OF THE MIND
&
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
June 29, 1984
Akademie Der Kunst
Berlin, Germany
SEA TAILSFebruary 1 – 5 1984
Theatre Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
Retrospective:
THE PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
SAGE CYCLE
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
ATEM
SEA TAILS
October 27 – 31, 1983
The Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSMay 7 – 8, 1983
Kommonales Kino
Stuttgart, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
4-Feb-83
Arsenal
Berlin, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINS
November, 1982
Wurttembergische Staats-theater
Stuttgart, Germany
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECTOctober 31, 1982
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
THE WEATHER WAS PERFECTSeptember 19, 1982
Venice Film Festival
Venice, Italy
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSSeptember 3, 1982
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, California
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSAugust 21, 1982
Basel Art Fair (Stampa)
Basel, Switzerland
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 21, 1982
Amerika Haus
Munich, Germany
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 16, 1982
Centre Georges Pompidou
Pairs, France
BEYOND THE FAR BLUE MOUNTAINSJune 10-11 1982
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
16-Feb-81
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
7-Feb-81
Kunsthaus
Zurich, Switzerland
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May, 1981
Kunstehalle
Basel, Switzerland
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May 20-21 1981
Akademie der Kunst
Berlin, Germany
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
May 12-14, 1981
Sprengel Museum
Hannover, Germany
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
May 9-10, 1981
Theater Am Turm
Frankfurt, Germany
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
April 25 – 28, 1981
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
April 22-23, 1981
The Mickery
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
April 7 – 11, 1981
April 14 – 18, 1981
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, Massachusetts
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
March 1st, 1981
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Montreal, Canada
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
27-Feb-81
Smithsonian Institution
Hirshorn Museum
Washington, D.C.
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
February 21 – 23, 1981
Stowe Center for the Performing Arts
Stowe, Vermont
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
February 24-25, 1981
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
16-Feb-81
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
7-Feb-81
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
October, 1980
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
August, 1980
Walker Arts Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part III
SMALL CIRCLES GREAT PLAINS
May and June, 1980
Rising Sun Video Center
Santa Fe, New Mexico
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1980
Musee d’Art de Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Paris, France
SAGE CYCLE ALL PARTS:
I. SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
II.GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
III.SMALL CIRCLE GREAT PLAINS
December, 1979
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
March, 1979
Department of Dance and Architecture
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
IDEA Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
University of California
San Diego, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
American Contemporary Dance Company/ Seattle Art Museum
Seattle, Washington
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Pittsburgh, PA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
November, 1978
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GLASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1978
Cunningham Studio, Westbeth
New York, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GLASSLANDS AND SAGE
May, 1978
San Francisco Museum of Art
San Francisco, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
April, 1978
Anthology Film Archives
NYC, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
February, 1978
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston, MA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
January, 1978
Cabrillo Music Festival
Aptos, CA
SAGE CYCLE Part I & II
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
GRASSLANDS AND SAGE
August, 1977
THE KITCHEN
New York, NY
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
&
ABOUT THE LILTING HOUSE
April, 1977
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN
SAGE CYCLE Part I
SAGE TIME AND AGAIN
&
ABOUT THE LILTING HOUSE
March, 1977
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