September 21, 2016 - University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) - Pat O’Neill / MATRIX 262
September 21, 2016

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

Pat O’Neill, Runs Good (still), 1970/2012. Three-channel continuous video projection, transferred from 16mm; color, sound. BAMPFA purchase: Phoebe Apperson Hearst, by exchange. Image courtesy of the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles.

Pat O’Neill / MATRIX 262
September 28–November 27, 2016

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
2155 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94720
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The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presents Pat O’Neill / MATRIX 262. The exhibition features film, sculpture, photography, and works on paper by the Los Angeles–based artist Pat O’Neill (b 1939). MATRIX 262 takes unique advantage of BAMPFA’s dual nature—museum and cinematheque—as well as its new building, with works by O’Neill on view in the galleries, in both film theaters, and on the giant outdoor screen.

A founding faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1970, Pat O’Neill has been a key figure in West Coast experimental cinema for the past 50 years. A pioneer of avant-garde film and optical printing techniques, he creates densely layered films and moving-image environments that explore the hybrid and expanded terrain of film, photography, and sculpture. His innovative use of the optical printer, which enables filmed images to be manipulated and altered directly on celluloid, marked a creative breakthrough in composite image-making in film.

Films, collages, and sculptures by O’Neill will be on view in the BAMPFA galleries. Runs Good (1970/2012), which the artist made after he encountered the canvases of Hans Hofmann at BAMPFA in 1970, will be shown continuously as a three-channel projection. The Abstract Expressionist painter’s approach to color made a deep impression: O’Neill noted, “I was thinking about the idea of optical recession and advance, how colors occupy space depending on hue, saturation, and contrast with the field.” MATRIX 262 runs concurrent with the exhibition Push and Pull: Hans Hofmann (on view August 31 through December 11), enabling visitors to see O’Neill’s work alongside the paintings that inform it. Also on view in the galleries are O’Neill’s enigmatic, abstract sculpture Safer than Springtime (1964) and a selection of his two-dimensional collages, some of which relate to the films he was making at the same time, which will screen in BAMPFA’s Theater Two throughout the run of exhibition.

The artist will join us in the Barbro Osher Theater to present two programs in conjunction with the BAMPFA film series Alternative Visions. On Friday, September 28, O’Neill presents a new print of Trouble in the Image (1995), a playful and beautiful film comprising dozens of performances dislodged from other contexts, with two shorts films. The following evening O’Neill joins us for his rarely screened masterpiece Water and Power from 1989, along with three early shorts. For Water and Power, a film about Los Angeles, O’Neill used time-lapse photography and optical printing to evoke the conflict between industry and nature. (The screenings in the Barbro Osher Theater are ticketed separately from gallery admission.)

On BAMPFA’s outdoor screen, on the corner of Addison and Oxford Streets, BAMPFA audiences and passersby can view a new silent film commissioned by BAMPFA, An Extra Wander: for Miss Chickie. It will screen daily on the hour throughout the run of the exhibition.

Film screenings

Saugus Series (1974)
Sidewinder’s Delta (1976)
Foregrounds (1979)

Theater Two (on BAMPFA’s lower level) 
September 28–November 6, 2016
Wednesday–Thursday 11am–2pm & 5–7pm / Friday 11am–2pm & 5–9pm / Saturday–Sunday 11am–7pm
Program runs 55 mins and restarts at the top of each hour
Included with admission

Trouble in the Image (Pat O'Neill, US, 1995, 35mm)
With Pat O’Neill in person
Barbro Osher Theater
Wednesday, September 28, 7pm

In O'Neill's playful, beautiful film, "trouble in the image" may take the form of a disturbing moment in a narrative, how-to instructions for creating an image, or pictures that break apart and lose their literal meaning. With shorts Down Wind (1973, 16mm) and Horizontal Boundaries (2008, 35mm). Total running time: 73 minutes

Water and Power (Pat O'Neill, US, 1989, 35mm)
With Pat O’Neill in person

Barbro Osher Theater
Thursday, September 29, 7pm

Pat O'Neill's rarely screened masterpiece, the exceptionally dense and technically dazzling Water and Power, is a moving meditation on industrialization, focusing on Los Angeles, "a city that turned land into desert." Using time-lapse photography and optical printing, O'Neill intertwines technology and ideas, collaging different locales into montages that suggest the inevitable conflict of industry and nature. With shorts By the Sea (with Robert Abel, 1963, 16mm), Bump City (1964, 16mm), and Screen (1969, Digital). Total running time: 71 minutes

An Extra Wander: for Miss Chickie (Pat O’Neill, US, 2016, Digital)
Outdoor Screen (at the corner of Oxford and Addison Streets)
September 28–November 27 (except October 25–28)
Daily, on the hour


Pat O’Neill / MATRIX 262 is co-organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator, and Kathy Geritz, film curator. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAMPFA Trustees. Films courtesy of the artist, Academy Film Archive, and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Press contact: bampfapress [​at​]

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
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