David Ellis’s motion painting “Animal,” created in residence at The University of Texas at Austin, will be premiered on Sept. 24 at the inauguration of the new Visual Arts Center.
The commission represents the first work of video art to be acquired by Landmarks, the university’s growing public art collection, and initiates the only ongoing presentation of artists’ videos on campus.
Ellis’s motion paintings have evolved from documenting graffiti works with the Barnstormers, an artist collective he founded in 1999. For “Animal,” he used a high-definition camera placed overhead to capture the process of painting and repainting a surface on the floor each day over six weeks. He then compressed that documentation into a time-lapse video that forms a narrative of creative impulses and executions.
The resulting nine-and-a-half-minute video, comprising thousands of images, including birds, landscapes, mythical creatures and other fantastical subjects, takes the viewer on an exhilarating journey into the process of artistic creation. “Animal” was completed in collaboration with cinematographer Chris Keohane and composer Roberto Lange, who created an original soundtrack for the video.
Landmarks realizes its projects by partnering with academic units and institutions throughout the university. This commission provided the first opportunity for the program to work closely with the Department of Art and Art History’s new Visual Arts Center, whose galleries will be inaugurated Sept. 23-26. The premiere of “Animal” will coincide with the opening celebrations.