Wishes (2009), Robin Bernat and Blake Williams
Wishes (2009) is a collaborative film by Blake Williams and Robin Bernat. Sumptuous imagery combined with Argentine tango music and dance become vehicles to explore a universal subconscious desire for wish fulfillment. Shot in high-definition digital video, Bernat, bandoneon player Osvaldo Barrios and Julian Ingram perform a wistful narrative about lost love and an illusive reunion. Wishes includes the participation of the Tango Junkies. Directed by Blake Williams and Robin Bernat. Screened at Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; it is in the permanent collections of The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Running Time: 15 min 38 sec.
Intended as a short prelude to the screening for "Wishes" (2009), the flowers were a part of the "Wishes" set photographed after the main filming was complete. Audience members would see the Flowefilm on a continuous loop as they entered into the theatre. Made with the assistance of Blake Williams of Proper Medium.
Little Fictions (2003)
Shot in Super 8 and edited digitally, "Little Fictions" presents a series of vignettes: scenes from a Children's party, a letter to Rainer Maria Rilke, views from a country road.... intended to function like a visual book of short stories. It is the precursor to a later work, "Real Lush: short stories" (2008). With the participation of the fellows and fellow travelers at The American Academy in Rome, 2001, Cameron Hollister and Pasha kitty.
September 16, 2001 I write this statement about lamentation before its completion as, no matter what the final piece, I think my ideas will be unchanged. It is a piece a long time in the making and big gaps of time exist between the filming of sequences. I point this out only because I think it might be relevant to the content. Entirely, this work is about the loss of my beloved, Daniel Zalik, who was killed in a camping accident in Argentina almost two years ago. Another work, American Pastoral, has come and gone without some putting to rest of my grief. That work was, perhaps, a good start of what seems like a long journey of understanding something about faith and grace. Thanks to participants Tom Williams, Charles Reeve and David Butler. Having become separated from his family, Daniel had climbed to the top of a promontory for a better view of the landscape, slipped and fell on rocks knocking him unconscious, plummeting into a ravine and washed downstream – his body found several days later. For months and months, I replayed this scenario over in my head. I couldn’t reconcile in my mind how the worst possible event could have happened to Daniel and how alone he was. The image of his body, lifeless and unattended for days, his vulnerability, his mortality, how quickly he was here and then not here: I was tormented. Finally, I went to Rome for an artist residency and on the second day, I visited the Borghese Museum. In the last gallery, I turned around to see Raphael’s Deposition. (I include it here.) Being in Rome, of course, these images are in every church, in every little chapel, in every street altar: there was no getting away from this picture. I don’t know what else to say that this painting doesn’t say all by itself and how it addresses my personal grief and reminds me of the universal nature of sorrow and suffering and what can be comforting about that. (that is what these paintings were intended to do.) Daniel, who was an orthodox Jew, I’m sure, might not much appreciate these visual or metaphoric comparisons of him to Jesus but, luckily, he was also forgiving and generous.
Sweet Little Jesus Boy; or, a grief like no other (2002)
Created for an exhibition titled "Strange Fruit: Artists respond to Lynching and Mob Violence" concurrent with the exhibition "Without Sanctuary" at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, Sweet Little Jesus Boy; or, a grief like no other included the participation of Atlanta artist Kevin Sipp and is set the the spiritual of the same name sung by Leontyne Price.
Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places (2001)
Looking for love in all the wrong places (2001) is about desire. Here, I am trying to distill down to its essence a predominant theme in my work. For several years, I have been exploring different ideas about desire: romantic desire, spiritual desire and its aspects of effortlessness and effort, human and natural adaptation. These two pieces (parts one and two) function as vignettes of the seeking aspect of desire. The title references a kind of kitsch country-pop song – part of a new interest in Americana, of sorts. Music by Neil Fried and Railroad Earth.