Paul Sharits (1943-1993), Insectual, 1985; acrylic on canvas with shag rug, Overall: 106 x 187 in. (269.2 x 475 cm) Frame: 91 3/4 x 60 in. (233 x 152.4 cm); Gift of Christopher and Cheri Sharits, 1994
The Filmic Art of Paul Sharits
On View Saturday, February 26–Sunday, May 21, 2000
Paul Sharits, who died in 1993 at the age of 50, has been recognized internationally as a pioneering experimental filmmaker; however, he was trained as a painter. In the early 1970s he used structuralist theory and painting strategies to create non-narrative, non-objective works he called "flicker films" that were about the elements of film itself. Sharits became a master of intercutting one media with the other, using film frame structures in his painting, and planning his films with "scores" that are meticulous colored ink drawings on grid paper. His "Frozen Film Frame" series showed this process in reverse as two-dimensional, post-production renderings of his films. Words, then texts, sound tracks, and surreal meaning slowly became integrated in Sharits' later films and paintings, and he became associated with the Fluxus movement. Multiple projector installations during the 1970s in museums in Buffalo, Paris, New York, and Berlin changed how the public perceived film. His work of the 1980s often reflected a tortured persona as he challenged society and its preconceptions about art and film. This exhibition was the first retrospective exhibition of Sharits' works to include both his films and his two-dimensional pieces. Support for the exhibition was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the James Carey Evans Endowment. Film screenings took place in the Paul Sharits Theater at Hallwalls on Friday, March 17 and Sunday, March 19.