SAMSTAG ALUMNI 2007

Jess MacNeil
Born 1977, Nova Scotia, Canada 

The strangeness in Jess MacNeil's videos is subtly created through her use of digital manipulation. She removed the people who animate the steps of the Sydney Opera House, but left their shadows. Surprisingly, the result is something that could be described as visual music. Possibly this is because the parallel lines of the steps suggest the staves of a musical score, on which the dark fragmented shapes ascend and descend like the notes on a scale. Their rippling movement is in itself musical, like a piano trill. They contrast dramatically with the twilight serenity of boats on a still stretch of the Ganges River in The Shape of Between. The slightly slowed motion of the boats is cyclical, eventually returning them to the point where they began. 

The title of that slow and lyrical passage gives some indication of MacNeil's approach to filmmaking, and emphasises that her intentions are more abstract than narrative. Both of the backgrounds she used, the hard regular steps and the formless expanse of water fill the frame completely. Movement pervades every part, like a non–figurative colour–field canvas with a composition that is literally dynamic. It seems quite logical that MacNeil is also a painter.

Timothy Morell from his Samstag catalogue essay, Loose connections
 
2007 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2007 Graduate Affiliate, Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK  
2004 Master of Visual Arts, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney 
1998 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney 

Artist's website
http://jessmacneil.com/