The Littlest Magpie

Just another UMW Blogs weblog

Bill Viola

March 22nd, 2011

Bill Viola is a New York-born artist who works in video media. He has a certain kind of zen aesthetic which can be seen in a lot of his work, as well as a desire for balance – fire and water, light and dark, etc. Likewise he’s very interested in the expressing of emotions, usually extreme, usually grief. His videos are usually stark, with black backgrounds, so that the figures are the most prominent aspect. Water features heavily in works like Ocean Without a Shore, Acceptance, The Crossing, The Messenger, The Plunge,, and the Lovers. There is also a subtle allusion to art history in the compositions of some of his pieces, the poses the actors strike and that sort of thing. He occasionally works with his wife and co-artist, Kira Perov.

His work is theatric, powerful and chilling, traits enhanced by the use of extreme slow motion. The concept behind some of his work, like Ocean Without A Shore and Acceptance, is cool in theory and creepy in practice. However, it is definitely a very awesome sort of creepy, born of a person’s natural discomfort with seeing the display of strong emotion – particularly grief – in others, as well as the discomfort of seeing someone apparently set on fire or doused in a waterfall.

Fire Woman (which probably has another title that the youtube uploader wasn\'t aware of)

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