Painting Lights1976, 7 min. 14 sec. b&w, 16mm, silent

 

Painting Lights is about a light source in reverse: how, with negative film, light becomes a source of blackness instead of illumination -how the absence of light creates a light (or white) frame, and flattens out a three-dimensional room space to a two dimensional image in which there are only flat lines on the screen. The film begins with a woman in deep space, on a ladder, painting a vertical tube-light on one side of the screen with "White" paint. As she works, there is less and less light-the dark reflections of light on the floor disappear and the frame becomes whiter. She paints a second light, continuing to white out the frame, and then she dis-appears, leaving nothing except a few traces of black where the lights have been painted over. Two more lights are turned on in the foreground, closer to the camera. She paints these too, beginning with the light on the left, and then painting the one on the right, again leaving a frame that is totally white except for a few stray blotches of black.