Scalpel/Wood/Table
5 min 32 sec film, stereo sound, 1982 -2004 

 

A surgical scalpel is taken to 100ft of black and white motion picture film. By scraping the film, the hidden structure of the wood of the table on which the film rests is revealed in the emulsion of the film. The repeating wood grain pattern rubbed into the film generates animated sequences that evokes fleeting three dimensional representational forms and abstracted movement. A soundtrack was added to the work in 2004. The film is  dedicated to artist and filmmaker David Perry, co-founder of UBU Films and creator of many direct films.  
 

 
The selected abstract, non-objective works 1982-present made for engrossing viewing and listening. Dense, scratchy verticals in Scalpel/Wood/Table (1982-2004) soon turn horizontal, white blobs form and mutate behind, and sounds become increasingly train-like in what turns out to be a wonderfully abstracted “view from a fast train” video. 
Keith Gallasch, Realtime 2016
Exhibitions
John Gillies, Sydney Non Objective Gallery, Sydney 2016
Screenings
Sydney Moving Image Coalition, 2005
John Gillies: Videoworks, Performance Space, Sydney 2004