It’s often difficult to create the right viewing conditions for experimental films in commercial galleries. Audiences with short attention spans tend to wander away from video monitors, and black-box build-outs aren’t always practical or desirable. “Two Serious Ladies,” an exhibition of works by experimental feminist filmmakers Peggy Ahwesh (b. 1954) and Jennifer Montgomery (b. 1954), strikes the right balance between casual and formal. Viewers sit or lounge across benches to view six films by the artists, projected on an approximately two-hour loop alternating across two walls. The short selections, from 1989 to the present, give an overview of the artists’ preoccupations, such as found footage narratives and the relationship between humans and animals. A psychoanalytic undertone is exemplified in the hypnotized subjects in Ahwesh’s Ape of Nature (2010) and the transference of human emotions onto animals in Montgomery’s One Species Removed (2013). Weekly screenings and discussions supplement the exhibition, including an event on Oct. 23 with the Murray Guy-represented artist Moyra Davey.
Pictured: Peggy Ahwesh: Martina’s Playhouse, 1989, 8mm film, 20 minutes.