richard tuohy
artist statement
film works

Artistic Statement:

My early films were formalistic narratives, dedicated as I was then to making homages to Ozu. That's long ago. My work now is abstract and experimental, though perhaps the formalistic concern remains. My super 8 films from 2005 to 2008 represent an explosion of filmic creativity I had not really been expecting. Finishing films on super 8 can be a very direct and ‘in camera’ way of working, producing results and new stimuli very quickly. In many ways, this fruitful period has provided the foundation of my current art practice. Since 2009, when I acquired 16mm printing facilities, my work has shifted slightly to become more focussed on the possibilities of the 16mm contact printer and the laboratory.

Someone once described my recent (post ’05) films as 'films about cameras' (that was in ’09 - now they might say, ‘films about film equipment’). I found that astute, but a trifle unfair. Yes, I have dwelt in a lot of camera techniques - classic and novel: lots of pixilation (single frame), double and multiple exposures, matts and split frames, effect filters, colour filters, distorting optics, found optics, long exposure blurring, re-photography, telephoto shake, various camera mounts, focus shifts, etc., and often several at once. And I have often create such abstraction effects in the field and thus 'in-camera'. What I look for, however, is some kind of nexus between what my camera (or other equipment) can do and my subject. I strive to find some kind of natural link between the subject matter and the possibilities of the analogue film technology I use, such that the film works like a magnifier to point-out and dwell-in the properties of the particular objects of my fascination.

Mostly my films involve natural features or environments. These films have been described rather nicely as ‘earth animations’ and ‘landscape dances’. The connotations of both these descriptions appeal to me. I like to see my approach as a kind of cine-cubism: attending to and abstracting certain features from my subject through making temporal and graphic associations etc., without resorting to a prosaic depiction. I like to use formal structures to cut out (or rather, ‘abstract’ out) what I see as the 'fleshiness' of the particular. While often originating with images from nature, my films are at base about form, structure, time and pattern, rather than about content in any direct sense. Ultimately, they are more about ‘looking’ than ‘thinking’.