Visions of the Nude- The Films of James Herbert


Location: Theatre Vanguard
9014 Melrose Avenue , Los Angeles, California 90069


James Herbert lives in Athens, Georgia where he has been teaching in the Department of Art at the University of Georgia since 1962. Herbert, who is a celebrated painter, has had his own work exhibited throughout the US and Canada, and he has had a number of one-man exhibitions at the Pointdexter Gallery in New York. In a statement from the catalogue, 'Contemporary Painting and Sculpture 1974,' issued by the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Herbert is quoted 'My process for making paintings and films is somewhat similar. In both I always concentrate on the nude human figure. In the films the subjects are never directed and I proceed to shoot whatever looks good at the moment. The figures in the paintings emerge by simply beginning with a part of the anatomy and going on from there. In both cases I am interested in dislocating the figures in time and space. In the paintings this achieved by temporarily covering up areas, putting in new unrelated images and then seeing what juxtaposition has occurred. In films I reshoot each frame, upsetting the rhythm of real time and composition... The nice thing about the painting process is that I can do it alone. I have to involve myself in the real world in film.' About Herbert's process of 're-photography,' the artist says 'Re-photography is a way to get another change at filming. I approach refilming not so much as analysis, but rather to see the projected film as a new event, a new subject for filming. Then I change intuitively, spontaneously, the time progression and/ or part of the screen I re-photograph. The new images are then consumed by the camera again. They sustain themselves as new events for filming, and that is different from editing or fixing up...I do not believe in progress in art. I believe one can make old things new again. Certain media and certain approaches do renew things. I got into film because I could do old things, not 'new' things... old things that were denied in painting. I see no way for me to develop the anatomical reality I see (moving in time and space) before me in painting, but I can in film.'
[Source: Theatre Vanguard Program Notes, 1975]