Molly Lowe: Redwood


JOAN presents a two night screening of Molly Lowe’s REDWOOD (2016, 58 minutes)

Saturday, September 24th, 7:30pm sharp & Sunday, September 25th, 7:30pm sharp
*Saturday’s  showing will be followed by a Q&A with Lowe and DP Bartosz Nalazek

Doors at 7pm; seating is limited; popcorn will be served.

JOAN is pleased to present Molly Lowe’s first feature-length film REDWOOD. The title refers to one of the most ancient tree species, which self-replicate; when one specimen dies, it clones itself through surrounding saplings born of its root system. The film is a time-travel family drama featuring a young woman, ostensibly Lowe, receiving a memory transplant from her grandmother who is in a vegetative state in a Mnemogenic Center. Due to her grandmother’s dementia and the limits of technology, time frames and characters are fragmented and conflated in her memories.

Prompted in part by an old photograph of Lowe’s grandmother, a painter who recently passed away, Lowe distorts memories passed down to her from her grandmother and family members as almost photographic tableaux, affected by empathy, imagination, and the unreliable lens of memory. Hand-made masks that depict one woman aging from adolescence to old age are worn by all characters throughout different decades; the masks collapse Lowe’s identity with those of the other female family members, making character dynamics and plot lines intentionally ambiguous.

REDWOOD is highly influenced by traditional Noh Theater, which also relies on masks to represent phantom beings, caught between life and death. Similarly, Lowe mythologizes her family members, manifest as hyper-stylized, almost otherworldly beings confronted with their own impending—if not delayed—mortality. With a nod to Japanese horror, the Soviet avant-garde, Cronenberg-style science fiction, and 90s classics such as Fried Green Tomatoes and A Princess Bride, Lowe intertwines these film genres to tap into visceral, pop-culture nostalgia as a vehicle to tell her own personal narratives.

REDWOOD was commissioned by Pioneer Works gallery (Brooklyn, NY) where it was shown as part of a large scale installation in early 2016.

Molly Lowe (b. 1983, Palo Alto, CA) combines sculpture, painting, performance, video, and installation to play with many themes relating to the awkwardness of living in a human body, and the way different psychological states can change the physical. She received her MFA from Columbia University and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been included in exhibitions and residencies, both internationally and in the US, including Recess Art, Skowhegan, Shandaken, SculptureCenter, Suzanne Geiss, Pioneer Works and Performa 13. She recently received the NYFA 2015 interdisciplinary artist fellowship award.

Image credit: REDWOOD (stills), 2016, Video, 58 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

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