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True to Nature: Artists’ Shorts

Organized in association with the exhibition True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870, this program of artists’ short films addresses the natural world through the motion picture lens, using both analog (film) and electronic (video) means. Created by established and emerging filmmakers, these seven distinctive works employ personal perspectives to inform the representation of place—whether land and sea with their flora and fauna, or other creatures that inhabit the earth. Often produced alone or in seclusion on portable equipment (digital sound recorder, video recorder, or hand-cranked film camera such as the Bolex), each title reveals a maker’s particular sensibility and approach, as the art of cinema does so well.

Total running time approximately 55 minutes. With thanks to all the artists, and to Canyon Cinema, Light Cone, and Video Data Bank.

All My Life

The famous Ella Fitzgerald rendition of her signature ballad wafts through Bruce Baillie’s color-saturated tracking shot along a country fence. (Bruce Baillie, 1966, USA, 16mm, 3 minutes)


A simple, deadpan confession to the camera suggests that the weather usually has a mind of its own. (Paul and Marlene Kos, 1976, USA, video, 1:40 minutes)

Adeline for Leaves

A portrait of a young botanist filled with mythic references and colorful images gives a hopeful glimpse of the environment. (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2014, Argentina/UK, 16mm and 35mm, 13 minutes)


Moving calmly along cityscapes of New Orleans, Cauleen Smith’s camera captures nine solitary musicians all playing one tune: the five-note sequence from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Cauleen Smith, 2014, USA, vídeo, 11 minutes)

Visions of an Island

“An Unangam Tunuu elder describes cliffs and summits, drifting birds, and deserted shores . . . glimpses of an island in the center of the Bering Sea.” – Sky Hopinka (Sky Hopinka, 2016, Ho-Chunk Nation, video, 15 minutes)

Atomic Garden

A stroboscopic reflection on survival and the resilience of many life forms in the face of toxicity and extinction, Atomic Garden pulses between images of fireworks and explosions of flowering plants and their pollinators. (Ana Vaz, 2018, Brazil/France, 8 minutes)

Foryannfromrose – hair removed

A gentle cinematic poem from one artist to another muses on the bonds that exist within the natural world. (Rose Lowder, 2014, France, 16mm, silent, 1 minute)