The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents “The Momentary Sublime: Short Films by Brian Libby” from June 1-30 in the Media Room at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The film screenings will include 10-15 experimental short films as samples of Libby’s work over the past 15 years. In each film, Libby captures specific moments in landscapes, such as seagulls over Cannon Beach or the spray at Multnomah Falls. “The Momentary Sublime” will open during the First Friday reception on June 1, 5-7pm, with films running on a loop in the Media Room. An additional screening and artist talk will be held on Saturday, June 9, 5-7pm in Room 205 at the VAC.
“I don’t make narrative films; I’ve seen millions of them and feel no compulsion toward that kind of storytelling. Instead, I like capturing small details and moments and arranging them in a way that, if this were words, would seek to be more poetry than prose,” says Brian Libby.
Besides his film-making pursuits, Brian Libby is a Portland-based freelance journalist covering architecture and design, with a background in writing about film and visual art, sports, business, food, science and film. He is a well-known design critic on Portland’s fast-changing urban landscape. As part of the June 9 artist talk, Libby will discuss both his filmmaking and his perspective on Portland’s growth. “It makes sense to combine what I've learned from my writing about place and Portland, and how I've seen things through the lens of my films.”
Libby’s publishing credits include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Dwell, Salon and Metropolis, among other national and statewide publications. His book credits include “Tales From the Oregon Ducks Sideline” (Sports Publishing, LLC) and “The University of Oregon Football Vault” (Whitman Publishing).
Though Brian Libby makes his living primarily as a writer, and calls his photography and filmmaking more hobby than profession, he has developed a strong resume in the visual art world as well. A solo show of his films, “Brian Libby: Travelogues,” played at the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center in June 2017, and he has won three Judge’s Awards at the Northwest Film Center. He has also screened his work in London, Berlin, Seattle and San Francisco. Mark Mohan of The Oregonian has written of Libby’s films, “Brian Libby manages to meld the quotidian and the sublime, or rather perhaps expose the one with the other.” Libby’s photography credits include CityLab, Portland Monthly and Vice.
“I really do think there’s a relationship between my writing and filmmaking,” Libby says. “The films are short travelogues from my travels across Europe and Asia as well as through Portland and Oregon. One film in the show includes a long shot of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. There’s next to no talking in the films, and they’re completely unscripted.”
The Media Room is open Tues.-Sat., noon to 4pm. Videos included in “The Momentary Sublime” will be screened on a loop during the Media Room’s open hours.
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