Film, sculpture, photography, and works on paper by Pat O’Neill on view in Berkeley

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Film, sculpture, photography, and works on paper by Pat O’Neill on view in Berkeley
Pat O’Neill: Safer than Springtime, 1964; fiberglass, aluminum, steel, paint; 48 x 39 x 30 in.; courtesy of the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.

BERKELEY, CA.- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents Pat O’Neill / MATRIX 262, on view from September 28 through November 27, 2016. The exhibition features film, sculpture, photography, and works on paper by the Los Angeles–based artist Pat O’Neill (b 1939). MATRIX 262 takes unique advantage of BAMPFA’s dual nature—museum and cinematheque—as well as its new building, with works by O’Neill on view in the galleries, in both film theaters, and on the giant outdoor screen.

A founding faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1970, Pat O’Neill has been a key figure in West Coast experimental cinema for the past fifty years. A pioneer of avant-garde film and optical printing techniques, he creates densely layered films and moving-image environments that explore the hybrid and expanded terrain of film, photography, and sculpture. His innovative use of the optical printer, which enables filmed images to be manipulated and altered directly on celluloid, marked a creative breakthrough in composite image-making in film.

Films, collages, and sculptures by O’Neill are on view in the BAMPFA galleries. Runs Good (1970/2012), which the artist made after he encountered the canvases of Hans Hofmann at BAMPFA in 1970, is being shown continuously as a three-channel projection. The Abstract Expressionist painter’s approach to color made a deep impression: O’Neill noted, “I was thinking about the idea of optical recession and advance, how colors occupy space depending on hue, saturation, and contrast with the field.” MATRIX 262 runs concurrent with the exhibition Push and Pull: Hans Hofmann (on view August 31 through December 11), enabling visitors to see O’Neill’s work alongside the paintings that inform it. Also on view in the galleries are O’Neill’s enigmatic, abstract sculpture Safer than Springtime (1964) and a selection of his two-dimensional collages, some of which relate to the films he was making at the same time, which are being screened in BAMPFA’s Theater Two throughout the run of exhibition.

On Friday, September 28, O’Neill presents a new print of Trouble in the Image (1995), a playful and beautiful film comprising dozens of performances dislodged from other contexts, with two shorts films. The following evening O’Neill will join visitors for his rarely screened masterpiece Water and Power from 1989, along with three early shorts. For Water and Power, a film about Los Angeles, O’Neill used time-lapse photography and optical printing to evoke the conflict between industry and nature. (The screenings in the Barbro Osher Theater are ticketed separately from gallery admission.)

On BAMPFA’s outdoor screen, on the corner of Addison and Oxford Streets, BAMPFA audiences and passersby can view a new silent film commissioned by BAMPFA, An Extra Wander: for Miss Chickie. It screens daily on the hour throughout the run of the exhibition.

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