Gee Vaucher's film, 'Angel', is not so much a movie as a study of stillness wherein the standard exaggerated dramas and sound-bite trickeries of Hollywood are replaced with a profound introversion: a meditation. For some forty-five minutes we are asked to consider a young girl staring back at us, the camera. Sometimes she appears amused, sometimes accusatory, sometimes removed, sometimes present, but because we are given few clues as to her real condition, so those reflections are almost certainly expressions more of our psychologies than hers. In this sense she acts as an angel within, offering us an opportunity to consider our own deeper selves and, for once, to escape the more often than not cynical and manipulative contrivances of the entertainment industry.
In the truest sense, Gee Vaucher is a rebel artist with a cause. Having been born into the greyness of post-war Britain, she sought from the start to find and fly her own colours both for and against her working class roots (which in those days did not easily accommodate artistic aspirations). Through a mixture of rugged self-determination and a natural gift for line, form and colour, she was able to assert herself as an artist. Following this path, she gained a place at art school and then went on to subvert her enormous commercial potential (notably as a much in demand illustrator in 70s NYC) into what became widely accepted as being seminal to the protest art of the 1980s. However, her history with the anarchist band Crass during that period has been well documented elsewhere, and tells only one part of the story.
By seeing her art as essentially a tool for social change, Gee Vaucher has ducked and weaved her way through whatever medium might best express whatever it is that she seeks to say. Within paintings, drawings, collages, prints, films, happenings, sculptures, and soundscapes, her singular demand for human rights, dignity and fairness is always manifest. Expecting (and more often than not demanding) no returns, she has remained a resolute outsider, free to express herself as she desires, and completely divorced from any commercial consideration. In the laissez faire world of postmodernist pretensions her bohemianism is as laudable as her work is illuminating. Those who cannot see the light are those who are not looking for it.
Thursday 29th May at 7:30pm Gavin Brown's Enterprise 620 Greenwich Street NYC