Art Gallery Opening: BELOW SEE LEVEL

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00BELOW SEE LEVEL | Guest Writer: JAN MAJOR

Have you ever heard of the old Ultraman television show?  I hadn’t until I met Mike Rader, creater of the marvelously odd experimental film Man Vs. Ultraman, which was thematically inspired by the series, and whose exhibit, showcasing art he created for the film, can be seen at the Christopher Henry Gallery at 127 Elizabeth Street, New York City until January 6th.  The award winning film plays in loop on the second floor of the gallery.  Next to it, you can see the original set and some of the figurines Mr. Rader used in the film.  There’s a landscape of grass, mountains, and an alien infested tree overhung by the sun, a cloud, and a massive mask-like canvas that was the ultimate representation of the Man vs. Ultraman saga.  The film and related exhibit are about the subconscious struggle within an artist’s mind.  They depict two different facets of the artist’s psyche battling it out for dominance. Much of the artwork has been partially destroyed, such as a cloud which has a hole punched through the middle or the giant mask-like canvas which has repeatedly been repainted layer upon layer upon layer.  When asked, Mr. Rader called the act of damaging his work cathartic.

One of Mr. Rader’s signatures as an artist is canvas that has been painted then dissected and redistributed throughout the space.  This is best represented on the first floor of the gallery where a collage of canvas covers the wall and slinks over parts of the floor.  The mix of pinks and whites reminded me of the inside of the human body.  In fact, when asked, the artist described it as the “engine room of the mind”.  It is supposed to depict the subconscious drive that inspires the conflict in the film upstairs, although only brief representations of it can be seen in the actual movie.
In it’s totality, the exhibit can be seen as an exploration of the brain of an artist, containing both the desire to create and the need to destroy.  Almost every single piece of artwork in the exhibition has been cut, hit, or repainted.  The film shows an artist working, buildings being built, an infrastructure being designed, and then how it’s destroyed and yet again, rebuilt.  The exhibit features work that has been battered and changed, the final product is one that is intentionally damaged and the dichotomy between creation and destruction is constantly being depicted, prompting the age old question: In the end, are these two opposites really the same thing?
Article by Jan Major exclusive for FILM ANTHROPOLOGY
Also check out the interview FA did with Mike Rader on behalf of NewFilmmakers New York at the beginning of FallFest 2012: http://norcrossmedia.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/filmmaker-profile-michael-rader/

 

Filmmaker Profile: Michael Rader

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Man Vs UltramanMichael Rader is an artist in Brooklyn, who it turns out, has made a few experimental films. The most recent is MAN VERSUS ULTRAMAN, which I was introduced to by the 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival.   In the main lobby of the festival where filmmakers had their movie posters up, Michael had his poster and the special thing about it was that he painted it himself and brought the canvas in and hung it up. Not a copy, not a Photoshopped Kinkos printed run off – but the actual painting. Right away I thought WOW – I have to include this guy in my profile series!

MAN VERSUS ULTRAMAN screened at the AOBFF on the one night I couldn’t actually make it to the festival so, as is common with films and filmmakers that intrigue me, I went ahead and looked for it on the NewFilmmakers WithoutABox submissions list – low and behold it was there. Around the same time I was keying it into the Fall program, I got an e-mail from the director of the festival – a forward from Michael, asking that the film be placed in the same program I had just listed it in.  What are the odds?

Now we have here, Michael’s Filmmaker Profile, filmed on location at his studio in Brooklyn, to promote his upcoming NewFilmmakers screening of MAN VERSUS ULTRAMAN. During the filming of the profile I found out that he had screened with us before, a Chaplin inspired film. Here is the story of both of those projects with clips from MAN VERSUS ULTRMAN. If you can make the 6PM program on Monday October 8th, , head on over to the Anthology Film Archives and join us!

Direct Link: http://youtu.be/uTUVM6Quqtk

Artwork from MAN VS ULTRAMAN will be on display at CHRISTOPHER HENRY GALLERY

November 8th through December 9th 2012.