News and Events
Professor of Art Avery Falkner Screens His First Video Production
Avery Falkner's recent 29-minute video titled Light Water Maine Woods Stone will be shown Wednesday, Mar. 19, at 3 p.m. in Elkins Auditorium on the Malibu campus. All students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are invited to attend the free event.
In creating his first video production, Falkner said he is attempting to apply his artistic vision to a "reexamination of basic natural elements, namely, water, woods, and stone with the necessity of light to view them." He said the project is a byproduct of his sabbatical leave last fall, where he and his wife Pat lived on Toddy Pond in Downeast Maine.
"Most of the imagery in the 29-minute video is from that location. There were sorties that led often to the coast and other points inland where we witnessed the glory of the fall color changes; it was spectacular. My hope is that the viewer will experience the majesty and beauty of nature in a fresh new light."
Falkner grew up in West Texas and lived in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He earned his undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University and a Max Beckman Memorial Scholarship led him to study painting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He later received an MFA in painting from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California.
Here Falkner answers a few questions about his new project.
You created this film during your sabbatical in Downeast Maine. What brought you to that location?
When I first thought about a sabbatical and where it would take place, I considered Maine mainly because of the topography. The islands and inlets interweave in an intricate coastline; I am attracted to this meshing of land and sea. I was also drawn to the idea of going to the extreme opposite side of the United States—from the southwest to the northeast.
How did Maine inspire you?
I was struck by how sparsely populated it was. Instead of people it was full of wild woods, islands, inlets, and all this wood, stone, and water. I hadn't thought of those words at the onset, but as I explored the title just came about.
This film is your first video production. What motivated you to try this new medium?
I've always had an interest in film. In grad school I did some experimental filming without a camera—just exposing film to light—for an abstract experience. But this was the first time I'd really used cinematography.
How would you describe the process of making this video?
I purchased the video camera particularly for this purpose and to document the journey in this way. My wife and I drove all the way to Maine and the unfolding of that 5-week journey was an important part of the process. The rest was finding interesting things and shooting the images.
We were treated to a different type of light experience each morning as we watched the sunrise over Toddy Pond. We also took trips all over Maine, and out of that came different and abstract ways of looking at nature. I was able to capture some unique views of nature and bring them into this project.
How did the experience compare to your work in painting?
The creative process in video—the capturing and changing—is the same as it is in painting. You start with a raw product, make edits, and try to pick out compelling visual images. There were many more hours of footage where this material came from. Scattered throughout the film I've also inserted my own artwork, so can you see how the abstract art relates to some of the things you see in nature.
What were the most challenging elements of this project? The most rewarding?
Going through all the footage was a big challenge—the reviewing and reviewing, paring down, and finding things that connect in kind of a loose way. I wasn't trying to be too exact, too precise in editing. Rather I was looking for an interesting flow and also juxtaposition of elements and colors. I wanted both contrast and similarity in the images.
The best part was to see it all come together and see it work. What I'm attempting to do in this is be uniquely expressive in familiar territory. I hope to show some aspects of nature that haven't been seen before. I went to Maine with Southern Californian eyes and saw a whole different world. I hope this project can open the viewers' eyes to nature and a deeper appreciation of it.